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Purim! The Recipe for Joy!

Friday, 22 March, 2019 - 1:32 pm

 

Yesterday was Purim – the most joyous holiday of the year. So let us spend a few moments talking about joy and happiness.

Everybody seems to agree that we need it desperately. Most people surveyed in polls about "what is most important in life" will respond: "Happiness." The lack of happiness, it is believed, is at the root of all of society's ills, from substance abuse to domestic violence.

The amount of money, theories and man-hours invested in the pursuit of happiness is staggering. The result? Most of us, it seems, have still not reached the desired goal of Ultimate Happiness after all this! Why is this so?

It appears that we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places, and have no idea how to find deep and authentic happiness.

The strange thing is that all those who are pursuing happiness don't seem to find it, yet those who have found it never bothered to pursue it.

So how then do we become happy? We're caught between a rock and a hard place. We can't go seek happiness because inevitably it will run away from us. But we want/ desire/ need happiness now. What can be done to get it without actively seeking it!

Nothing. In the recipe for happiness, the first and primary ingredient is: Nothingness.

If you're actively pursuing happiness you're indicating that things are no good right now. Obviously, that can be quite depressing. But when you let go of your chase you create the void for happiness to dwell.

This might sound counterintuitive but it’s true. The less we focus on what “I” need and “how I’m” doing, the happier we are. In fact on a really joyous day, when things are going extremely well, we forget about ourselves so much so that we forget to eat – now that’s joy!

While “nothingness” is the first and primary ingredient to joy and happiness, it does not complete the puzzle. Once we’ve created the void; once we are no longer seeking to further our own needs and wants; once we’ve surrendered egocentric lusts – we then need to allow the joy to come through.

What does that mean?

The Torah teaches us that joy is natural and inherent to every person. Just witness the natural happiness and cheerfulness of a young child. Where does this joy emanate from? It comes from his soul and very essence. So why aren’t we always full of joy? Because our bodily functions and cravings mask and hinder the joy of our souls from shining through. We’re too caught up in ourselves to be happy.

But once we’ve removed the hindrances of our needs and wants, we become free to do that which is noble and right. We begin to refocus and invest our energy into those activities that bring true joy, namely, we begin to fulfill our G‑d-given mission on earth, the Torah and it’s mitzvahs

Now what could be more joyous than that!

Shabbat Shalom!

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