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"The injunction against being sad"


One of the central characteristics of chasidic thought was the injunction against being sad. 

Unlike bitterness, which can be productive, sadness was regarded as a kind of self-indulgence that drains man of his spiritual resources. 

A person who is sad about having sinned, for example, loses the capacity for change and is likely to be caught in vicious circles from which there is no exit: 

Sin creates feelings of guilt, which generate sadness and dejection, which lead to despair and to surrender to the urge to sin again. 

The chasidic prescription is to strive for a good disposition, to will oneself to be happy even in bad times. 

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Tales of Rabbi Nachman by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz