Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Three Sources of Simcha

A week ago (6-6-11) after davening, the Rebbe spoke about simcha.

 The Rebbe quoted the Beis Aharon who said that a Yid is supposed to be b'simcha every day. He said, "I'm not referring to the madreiga of simcha. I am talking about basic joy. The berachah of שלא עשני גוי, that Hashem did not make me a non-Jew, should generate such profound joy if one truly thought about what it means to be a Jew and all of its implications, he would surely be dancing in the streets." The Rebbe Reb Motele of Hornosteipel also said that the fact that one is not a goy (let alone that he is a Yid) is reason enough to maintain a joyful mindset.

Without a great stretch, one can take some time and reorient himself and put himself in a very positive place.

The Rebbe reiterated what he has said on various occasions that simcha does not necessarily mean bubbly and effervescent, although that surely is one expression of joy. The simcha of שמח בחלקו, being happy with one's lot, is the joy of knowing that there is a Creator who deliberately put him into this world, wanting him to succeed, and that nothing that happens to him is capricious or arbitrary. At this moment, every molecule and every event that is going in my life is orchestrated from above, from a place of great love and desire on the part of the Creator that I will be matzliach. When a person knows that Hashem is standing right next to him, so to speak, and that the things that are happening in his life, both good and otherwise, are all a product of absolute love, it changes the whole context. There is a certain joy that comes from knowing that we are in the strongest, richest, most powerful place in the universe, right next to the Ribono shel Olam.

Dovid Hamelech said in Tehilim, "A song of Dovid. Hashem is my shepherd, I will not want." The seforim say, "If Hashem is my shepherd I can't be missing anything."

There is a second kind of joy. Sadness is always, in one way or another, associated with death. It is no surprise by the fact that we have huge numbers of people who are depressed today because in their innermost being most people are aware of the fact that their lives are dwindling. What is there to rejoice about when there is nothing waiting for them other than oblivion? All you can do is grab with all the gusto all you can while you still have the chance. Ultimately there is nothing. If a person lives in a place that whenever they pick up their paycheck they have to spend it quickly, its really hard to believe that those people could generate any great excitement. Death brings sadness and life brings happiness.
If a person knows that is possible for him to invest in eternity so that they are surrounded by enumerable possibilities and opportunities to capture forever, then they can feel very rich. The difference between oneg, enjoyment, and simcha, the Baal Hatanya says, is that oneg requires a person to derive pleasure from something that they are interacting with such as food or particular company. Simcha you can have from far away. A person is very happy if he has ten million dollars in an offshore account. He may not have it right here right now but he is happy knowing that it is his.

The first kind of joy is just knowing that right now one is as rich as they need to be. This is already something more positive. At any given moment one knows that they can say a berachah, or be learning or davening or performing an act of kindness. We can always do gemilas chassadim at home with the people who are closest to us. There are opportunities galore. The only question is, am I doing this selfishly or because the Ribono shel Olam says so? If we are doing it because the Ribono shel Olam says so then we are investing in eternity.
A person can feel a sense of fulfillment and joy about their life because every moment is a moment identified with forever. That's a very powerful experience.

The third area of simcha which also holds the most promise and is the most difficult is when a person is working towards a goal that they have identified as being important for their fulfillment. Whether or not a person knows absolutely that its his purpose or mission is very hard unless you have prophet to tell you. Hashem has given us some indices to work with, namely the things we do well, the things that we find challenging and exciting. If we are genuinely trying to figure it out based on those indicators and others, then we are moving in the right direction and we are plugged into our life's mission even if at the end of the day we didn't hit the nail on the head. We can still rejoice in knowing that we are on the road of our purpose in this world. We must have clear goals and see ourselves working towards achieving those goals. That is very powerful source of excitement and joy.

In order to be aware of these three sources of simcha - you need all three, you can't get along without the others - a person needs to stop sometime in the morning and attach themselves to these ideas, they can then proceed through the rest of the day with a lot of simcha.

Postscript: You always need the three, but the third changes. At any given point a person should ask themselves, from where i am now, what fills my neshamah? What does my reason and intuition tell me that I should be pursuing? As you move towards that point it is very possible that you may decide there is something else you should be doing. The third is not etched in stone, rather its meant to grow you until you discern there is some thing else you need to do. Meanwhile, you've been building yourself for the next phase. The third source of simcha is that we do what we discern at that chapter of our life is the direction we are supposed to go, knowing that it might be the introduction to or the muscles that we need for the next stage. You need to climb this mountain but it is only then that you get to see the mountain that you are really supposed to climb. You couldn't see it because the first mountain was in your way. The third simcha is exciting because it carries us to where we have to go.
I doubt that Moshe Rabeinu or Dovid Hamelech saw the shepherding of sheep as their tachlis. They looked at it as an opportunity for hisbodedus, to sing songs and praise to Hashem, to reflect. They took advantage of whatever they were doing without having any sense at all that he was supposed to be the redeemer or king of Klal Yisroel. They understood that they had to do what they were doing well. They made the absolute best of what they were doing.

There is no guarantee that we will ever know definitively that this is our life's tachlis, but at some point we may have a stronger sense that we are moving in the right direction.

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