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Perhaps it is an assumption but I would suppose that Hashem would prefer us to serve him through simcha rather than through trepidation. There is certainly a virtue in ahavas Hashem over yirah. Ahava is more easily channelled through simcha. Happiness can vastly increase our avodah, why not daven for that? Neviim do not have nevuah when in a solemn state; even the loftiest service requires happiness.

We pray for many things but not directly for happiness. For yom tov amida we mention simcha (etc.) but it doesn't appear to be some sort of goal (from the text of the amida) on a day to day basis. Why?

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    Why should it be? Explaining why you might think it should be included daily (and more so than many other 'positive' things which are not included) would increase the value of this question.
    – Double AA
    Jun 25, 2013 at 11:53
  • It is also mentioned in the Shabbat amida.
    – Double AA
    Jun 25, 2013 at 11:58
  • @DoubleAA Presumably the reason we ask for all of the other positive things is so that we will be happy. Why not ask for happiness directly?
    – Daniel
    Jun 25, 2013 at 13:50
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    @Daniel I strongly disagree with your presumption.
    – Double AA
    Jun 25, 2013 at 14:52
  • 1
    @user2670 If you want that information to add to your questions value, you should edit it into the question.
    – Double AA
    Jun 25, 2013 at 20:21

3 Answers 3

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There's an audio by Rabbi Uziel Milevsky z'tl (former chief rabbi of mexico) on love and marriage which answers this.

basically, he points out that in the secular new year people greet each other "happy new year"

in the Jewish new year, we don't say "shana semecha" (happy/joyous new year) rather we say "shana tova" (a good year).

He explains there, that according to Judaism happiness is not the goal. The goal is "tov" (good), when your life has meaning, when your goal is something special then as a side product, you will find happiness. but happiness is not the goal of itself. If you make happiness, the goal you will never find it. On the contrary, you will make yourself miserable. see there for more.

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  • Interesting that happiness isn't a goal even though I would assume many would strive for it. Why does 'tov' lead to happiness? You could say that tov leads you to whatever derech Hashem has desired, be that happy or not.
    – bondonk
    Jun 25, 2013 at 20:15
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    when you do what you're supposed to do, you will feel happy regardless whether it is times of prosperity or adversity
    – ray
    Jun 25, 2013 at 20:21
  • @ray - Not on the 9th of the month of Av. ("mem'atin be-simcha") Oct 8, 2013 at 21:52
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The prayer for knowledge (atah chonen...) in the Amidah includes all kinds of knowledge. This includes the spiritual awareness that everything is for the good. See Likutei Moharan 250 (identifying da'at with the awareness that everything comes about through Divine providence). Internalizing this knowledge causes happiness and prevents depression.

The thanksgiving blessing (modim) also should lead to happiness. In general, thankfulness makes people feel happy. This has been documented scientifically.

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  • please cite where this has been scientifically proven Oct 8, 2013 at 21:53
  • Studies have been demonstrating the impact of thankfulness on happiness for many years. Try browsing books like Thanks!: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier, and The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want -- they apparently review this literature.
    – Kordovero
    Oct 9, 2013 at 1:15
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Since on Yom Tov we are commanded explicitly to rejoice and be happy (Deuteronomy 16:14–15.), it is mentioned explicitly in the Yom Tov Prayers. During the weekdays it is not a mitzvah to be happy it is not mentioned.

p.s The Chassidic Masters say that while it is not a mitzvah to be happy - being happy can lead to a lot of mitzvahs.

p.p.s Rambam/Ramchal - true happiness can only be achieved by mitzvah observance.

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  • where do the ba'alei chasidut say this? Oct 8, 2013 at 21:54
  • It's attributed to Reb Nachman from Breslov.
    – eramm
    Oct 14, 2013 at 13:53

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