There are all different kinds of happiness. Here is one you may not have considered: the joy of having leaders who say they are sorry.
In this week's Torah portion (Vayikra), there is a description of rituals for atoning for sins. One of these rituals is for a chieftain (a nasi, in Hebrew) who has committed a sin:
Should it be a chieftain who sins and unwittingly does one of the things which Adonai your God has commanded that you shall not do and he is guilty, or if he is informed of the sin that he has sinned, he shall bring as an offering an unblemished male goat. (Leviticus 4:22-23)
Rashi assumes that the strange wording must have a reason. The word, "asher," he observes is related to the word, "ashrei," which means "happy." Rashi comments on the verse, "Happy is the generation whose leaders pay attention to bring offerings for their unintentional sins, and all the more so if their leaders are contrite for their intentional sins."
You can understand the appeal of a society that has leaders who can admit mistakes and show sincere contrition (not that we would know). Rashi, though, goes a step further. To him, it is not just appealing. It is joyful.
It is joyful to know that power and humility can walk hand in hand. It is joyful to live in a world in which those who have power understand that it comes with an equal measure of responsibility. It is a source of genuine happiness to live in a society where people care more for each other than they care for protecting the illusion of their infallibility.
Happy, also, is the person who knows that his or her own errors and faults will be judged by authorities who can admit that they have their own.
May we all merit to have such happiness.
Other Posts on This Topic:
Vayikra: Should I Bow to a Block of Wood?
Va'eira: Playing God?