Compare two verses:

Yirmiyahu (Jer.) 33:11 - "sasson" is mentioned before "simcha" Esther 8:16-17 - "simcha" is mentioned before "sasson"

There are other such verses, as well, that we can compare, but offhand, I can't think of them.

Is there a general rule that explains the change in the order and what it means? If not, contrast / explain the difference with these two verses.

  • Consider also Isaiah 51:3. Actually, I can't find any instance of שמחה followed by ששון except your example in Esther. Can you provide one?
    – Double AA
    Feb 18, 2015 at 14:23
  • @DoubleAA - A challenge, indeed! I'm trusting your research on this. I assume you used a reliable computer search on this?
    – DanF
    Feb 18, 2015 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


The Malbin always explains that שָׂשׂוֹן is the external manifestation of happiness, and שִׂמְחָה is feeling happy.

See, for example, the Malbim on ישעיה Posuk 22:13 וְהִנֵּה שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה הָרֹג בָּקָר וְשָׁחֹט צֹאן אָכֹל בָּשָׂר וְשָׁתוֹת יָיִן אָכוֹל וְשָׁתוֹ כִּי מָחָר נָמוּת:

שמחה היא שמחת הלב הפנימית, וששון היא המחול והריקוד והמשתה אשר יעשו להרים נס

So (based on my memory of the Malbim's approach) when Yirmiyamu describes the future redemption - קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה - it corresponds to the next words קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה and then קוֹל אֹמְרִים הוֹדוּ. First there's a lot of celebrations - like weddings -and then the people start feeling happy, as they fully realize the extent of the redemption.

When describing the events in Shushan, the Megila first states וְהָעִיר שׁוּשָׁן צָהֲלָה וְשָׂמֵחָה that the non-Jews in the city made loud happy noise and then started feeling happy. But by the Jews - in the next Pasuk - it says לַיְּהוּדִים הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה וְשָׂשֹׂן וִיקָר. They first felt lighter, then felt happy, and only then started singing and dancing and feeling proud again.

More Malbim:

ישעיה פרק-לה

א: יששום ותגל. הששון, גדרו הסימנים החיצונים שיעשה להוראת השמחה ויו''ט כמו משוש כנור, משוש תופים, שמן ששון. והפוכו הסימנים שיעשו לסימן אבל שמן ששון תחת אבל (לק' סג), ולפעמים יש ששון בלא שמחה, הלובש בגדי יו''ט ולפניו תוף וכנור, ונפשו עליו תאבל. ויש שמחה וגיל בלא ששון, הלובש בגדי אבל ויגיל וישמח בלבבו, לכן אמר ישיש עליך בשמחה (צפניה ג') וישישו בשמחה (תהלות סח ד'). ‏

  • Thanks. My rav teaches a bi-weekly shiur on Sefer Yeshayahu. Since we were learning the beginning of the 11th chapter, he was talking about the "Havdalah" phrase, "Ush'avtem mayim b'sason", and this discussion arose. B"N, I shall pass your comments to him. He will appreciate it at least as much as I do.
    – DanF
    Feb 18, 2015 at 15:07

I believe it is the Gra who explains that Sasson refers to open, outer joy while Simcha refers to inner joy.

You can explain the Pasuk as prioritizing one over the other, or suggesting which led to the other.

  • I think I had heard that Gr"a comment, before. When possible, be link the source. As for prioritizing, if you can apply that concept to either of the above verses, it would strengthen your answer.
    – DanF
    Feb 18, 2015 at 14:18

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