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Be Happy!


“Serve G‑d with joy!” sings the Psalmist.

Joy is central to connecting to G‑d. Being happy when you do a mitzvah demonstrates that you like this connection, this tremendous privilege of serving the Infinite Author of All Things. And in fact, the Arizal, 16th-century master Kabbalist, once asserted that the gates of wisdom and divine inspiration were opened for him only as a reward for doing mitzvahs with boundless joy.

Not just mitzvahs, but everything you do—eating, sleeping, business, and even leisure activities—can be part of the way you connect to G‑d. All it takes is the right intentions. If so, “serve G‑d with joy” applies to all times and every situation.

“Serve G‑d with joy!” actually applies to all times and situations

When you’re happy, the toughest tasks are a cinch, the strongest adversaries are easily vanquished. If you’re down, on the other hand, even simple challenges seem overwhelming. Winning the lifelong battle against temptations, self-centeredness and just doing the right thing is largely dependent on staying bright, happy and optimistic.

A happiness meditation:

  1. Envision being given the opportunity to host your nation’s head of state in your humble home. Picture how overjoyed and excited you’d be at the honor.
  2. Consider G‑d’s unfathomable greatness.
  3. Take another moment to appreciate how small and insignificant you are by comparison.
  4. Contemplate now how He loves and cherishes you.
  5. Consider how, when you do a mitzvah, you cause Him to dwell with us here in our world—and you get to host Him!
  6. Let a sense of purpose lend bounce to your step as you go about your daily activities.

And one more:

  1. Recognize that all that transpires is part of G‑d’s plan, and that G‑d is in control.
  2. Understand that no evil could emanate from G‑d—for He is entirely good.
  3. Feel secure in the knowledge that everything is exactly as it is supposed to be, and Someone is looking out for you.
Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
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davejk denver September 4, 2017

wow, very touched indeed. Thanks for help in which I needed something beyond grasp... I believe joy is of G-D and just to read about it makes you feel that sense of awe and amazement... Great read thanks again Shalom. Reply

Fro February 12, 2016

The story is profound as is. I'm blessed reading it. No other explanation needed. It's the simple joy of being thankful for what has, shallows every grumbling one has due to focussing on what one is deprived off with no other way to obtain it. Just my perspective. Thank you for sharing. . Reply

Anonymous May 7, 2014

We have to live by faith - no fear - like Abraham. G-d's promise to Abraham is the bedrock of our history with G-D - a spirituqal "promissory note" to His children throughout the ages. By faith, we share in His great Covenant promises of fruitfulness, blessings, possessing the gate of our enemies, and gaining the victory - which G-D spoke to Abraham thousands of years ago. In that promise
G-D said He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. We haven't seen the full fruition of this promise yet! But we can live knowing vengance is the Lord's! We keep on loving and behaving well - knowing - if we don't break Covenant with G-D, He will not break Covenant with us! We must not loose sight of the Messiah and the best Covenant! Thank you Rabbi - I love your insight! Reply

Allan Koven Anaheim February 28, 2014

Joy I think your explanation needs further explanation. I suppose if you are a Chabadnik these issues are clear. For the rest of us, they are foggy at best. Living under the perceived umbrella of God's love, etc. may be comforting to some but the mental images and belief systems must be induced at an early age or they are extremely difficult to come by as an adult. Reply

Anonymous February 27, 2014

This is great! This is great :) Thank you! Reply

Zach Daytona, FL February 23, 2012

Really? People are commenting regarding horrors such as the Holocaust, genocide, victimized children, etc... and your telling us "how perfect that it all is"? Beause it gives you a chance to feel compassion? This can't be true. Reply

Nurit Jacks London, UK February 22, 2012

ACT with Joy for G-d Suzi I understand your comment and questioning of how can one feel G-ds hand in all when we can see so much suffering. I thought the same as you, then thought about this . Perhaps we do not see the whole picture, and only a part of it, The analogy I would like to give is of one who wishes to fix everything in the world to make it a perfect world. One sees an elderly lady by a road crossing and swiftly make our assumptions, taking her across the road. One sees a lad on the ground with a police officer kneeling by him, and we make our assumptions, assuming the young lad has committed a crime. Perhaps if we were privy to the whole puzzle of life, we would have realised, that the old lady didnt want to cross the road, the young lad had tripped over. What may seem as bad, may be seen out of context. Faith. Reply

Arnie Gerstein Sturgis, Michigan February 22, 2012

How can I feel joy or love or compassion Another way of looking at how perfect that it all is, all part of G-d's plan, is that whenever you encounter suffering or pain in others, regard this as an incredible opportunity given to you by the suffering child, for example, to open your heart to compassion. Something we all need, endlessly. And our gift in return to that child is to give of something of yourself to him, to that family, and become less attached to your comfort zone and guarded heart. Reply

Zach Daytona, FL February 22, 2012

joy How is it said that all is His plan yet no evil eminates from Him? Seems contradictory, please help. Thanks Reply

suzi orlando, fl October 15, 2010

HELLO shterna greisman, What you said about being on top of the world, and happy, is a delight.

You reminded me of Grandma, Auntie, and My Mom. This was always their attitude. My Mom summed it up best one day when we were talking about age. Her favorite song, she said is "I'm gonna live till I die."

We were talking about other people’s attitude about ageing. I can hear her like it was yesterday, (it was over 30 years ago) as she smiled at me with a gleam in her eye and said, "It sure beats the alternative."

You are so right Shterna; those are truly reasons to be grateful.

Thank you for presenting it so beautifully, the TRUE reasons to be joyful. They are so simple, obvious, and yet somehow constantly over looked.

At first glance your statement seemed under stated, and then I went back and read it again. It is eloquent, elegant, and should be apparent. Reply

suzi orlando, fl October 15, 2010

Joy Despite Suffering-To Jean Indianapolis Jean, a lovely & sweet explanation. I agree 100%. Your words show power, enlightenment, & alchemy. Words R your gift.

I didn't say I haven't suffered, I have. I meant in the "GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS,” I live in a free Country, no genocide, I have a roof over my head, a job, and I can put food, & clean water, in my mouth. I can't help but think of others whose norm is daily explosions, hoping loved ones return that night, no clean water, their children starving, & a country where HIV is rampant & the males think having sex with a virgin will cure them, so rape on children is a daily fact. Whatever our circumstances here, we don't have to deal with this as the NORM.

I do know we learn to be more understanding, patient, & kind, with time, even through some truly horrible & negative events in our lives. I believe I was always kind. Now I am more so, on many levels, than before suffering those unhappy, sad, and sometimes frightening, & painful, incidents. Thank you, Jean. Reply

Jean Indianapolis, IN October 15, 2010

Joy Despite Suffering One side benefit of living joyfully is that it frees one to become more of a blessing to others. When a person looks at life with a grateful heart, it motivates them to be charitable with others who s/he sees as suffering. So, Suzi, you acknowledge that you haven't suffered and others have and are - your joy will grow when you know that some act has alleviated the condition causing someone else to suffer. Reply

suzi orlando, fl October 12, 2010

Kaylee on JOY THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT EXPLANATION. Your fear for your child is true suffering. So wonderful he is here. First, reading your note, I really teared up. I admit I’m overly sensitive, that said, I got chills about those other parents also. Here I am crying and experiencing what I imagine I would do in your circumstance, when boom, you make me LAUGH (the washing machine thing). I too over react about unimportant things. We can do better if we try. Circumstances occur which make us realize: very few things are worth real upset. Good for you that you shared, and even used your name. Big step! You are out here with us now.
Take care & thanks again. Reply

Kaylee October 12, 2010

To Suze Joy :) Suzi-- I cannot claim to have suffered. I asked the same question and a prof who barely escaped with his parents from Austria before 1940, told me that when I asked the same question. He bore the survivor's guilt until one of his relatives who survived told him this very thing, Do not forget what happened, do your part to make love and joy possible for others, and live your life and be happy because you can.

I almost lost a baby and he was in NICU. (He is now almost 11 years old.) While I was there, I got lost in the back rooms and in spite of the creative hospital architcture designed to make it not happen, I met some parents who had just lost their baby and I felt guilty because I still had hope and the mom told me basically the same thing. I hope that if I ever do suffer that I can convey the same thing!

I thank you for letting me flesh this out. Others will see this and I need to remind myself of it, too! (I get bent out of shape over my dishwasher breaking.) Reply

suzi orlando, fl October 11, 2010

To FEEL JOY by Anonymous You have a very sweet and kind response
to my question. Thank you. The only way you can possibly know this is if you are, or were, one of the sufferers. Please know I recognize your humanity, and I
really do thank you. May G-D Bless You. Reply

Anonymous October 11, 2010

Suzi-- think of those things and feel joy because the sufferers want you to feel joy in this world. Reply

Suzi Orlando, FL October 11, 2010

ACT WITH JOY FOR G-D I agree with 99.9% of what is written. It is just so difficult to feel all is G-d's Plan when you think of the Holocaust, much Genocide in this world, today, especially in Africa. I want to feel G-D's hand in everything. So much horror in this world, especially with children as the victims. How can we feel G-D's hand in all? It is easy for me to feel fortunate and protected, and yet I think of all those who are tortured emotionally, as well as physically, on a daily basis. I can be joyful, help me to understand how they can. How does an Israeli family remember joy, and feel G-D's Hand when their child was killed by an explosive on the school bus, or while walking down the street eating an icecream? How do I enjoy this fortune for me, and not think of my brother and sisters in this world, who can not draw a sweet breath without fear of untoward inhumanity being visited upon them. This is a survivor's guilt which has to do with today and now, not even counting the past.
Thank you. Reply

shterna greisman bklyn, n.y. October 10, 2010

easy for me when my eyes see, my hands move my feet walk and indeed when with every breath I feel on top of the world, how can I not be filled with overwhelming joy. I agree life is infinitely better when infused with happiness. Reply

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