On Joy – According to Rambam and Hazal
The doctor’s prescription
The Rambam’s prescription for elimination of worry: take the roots of Shabbos, the cores of praise, gratitude, joy and trust and remove the seeds of anguish and worry. Take the blossoms of wisdom and understanding and the roots of patience and contentment and grind them in the mortar of meekness, and cook them all in the vessels of humility. Knead them with the sweetness of words and stir everything with the waters of grace and kindness. Give one who is sick with the illness of despari two spoonfuls morning and evening, together with three spoonfuls of the waters of clarity. Purify everything from the dross of anger and impatience, and mix everything in the essence of acceptance of the will of G-d, Master of praise and thankfulness, and have him drink it in vessels of divine praise. The sick person will relax and be serene.
(Introduction to Sefer HaNimtza)
The dullness of heart of depression. Depression is obviously not a sin, but the dullness of heart (timtum halev) brought about by depression, cannot be caused by even the most vulgar of sins. . . When we say that one needs to be joyful, we do not mean the joy of a mitzvah, since joy of a mitzvah is a high level (madrega), and not every Jew can be expected to be on a high level. All we mean it that he should not be depressed: Simply put, a Jew who is not truly joyful for being a Jew is ungrateful to G-d. After all, depression is hell, G-d forbid.
(Rabbi Aharon the Great of Karlin)
Words of hazal:
R. Joshua ben Karcha: Unlike the redemption from Egypt in which the order was for males only, in the redemption of Mordechai and Esther it was for males and females alike; hence, all the more so we must make these days good, each and every year.
(Babylonian Talmud, Megillat Ta’anit 12)