20 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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Jumping for Joy    

Jumping for Joy

Many try in vain to recapture the joy of their youth but aren’t able to, and so they settle for a life of sadness, worry, distraction, fantasy, and ultimately deep regret....


Many people think that they were happy when they were kids and seemed to just lose their joy in living somewhere along life’s path. They try in vain to recapture the joy of their youth but aren’t able to, and so they settle for a life of sadness, worry, distraction, fantasy, and ultimately deep regret.  They feel the pressure of having to make a living and provide for a family and don’t realize that these added “burdens” are meant to help them to reach even higher levels of joy than they felt when they were kids.


The way to soar to a higher and more complete happiness in adulthood is to repeatedly internalize that the pressures that G-d is putting on us are not really pressures at all. The added responsibilities are not being given to us to worry about. Even the sadness and depression that some of us have succumbed to are not worth fretting about. What does this mean? It means that even if a person is already a infested with anger and depression and improper desires - G-d doesn’t want him to lose any sleep over these things. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev said that he wouldn’t be sad even if he fell into the worst of sins; he would just pick himself up and keep trying to be good. If such a holy man as Rebbe Nachman refused to be demoralized by a fall how can we?


Where does one get the power to be happy?  The answer is simply in your own yearning to be happy. You thought that you had to worry about the bills and about your kids and about your spouse’s lack of attention to your needs – but actually, these annoyances were given to you for the opposite reason – to show you that you don’t have to worry about them at all.


It’s easy not to fly into negative emotions when there is nothing pushing on us, but G-d wants to show you that even when He cranks up the pressure not only doesn’t it weaken you, but it strengthens you. G-d feels infinite nachas (gratification) every time you choose to grow from the pressure rather than succumb to it – and that’s no small thing – because G-d doesn’t get any nachas, at all, from the Heavenly angels, who serve Him with perfect awe. The Angels are forced to serve G-d with joy, while we have a choice about it. Since G-d gives us the power to go against Him it gives Him unfathomable pleasure when we choose to stay loyal to Him and be happy no matter what.


A wife yells at her husband and commands him to drop what he’s doing and help her. He wants to keep his connection with G-d and joy so the second he feels the pain of her insults he says to Hashem in his mind: “Loving Father, I know that it’s only You. I am ready to do battle out of my love for you. Thank you for the chance to prove that my loyalty to You is greater than this little inconvenience. Then he jumps up and does whatever his wife asks for before the evil one can slip into his mind and stop him.  His wife looks surprised that he is moving so fast and doing exactly what she wants with genuine joy. Like an athlete who knows he is increasing his strength and endurance when he feels a burning sensation in his muscles he runs to do the will of his Father in Heaven.


Remember your goal is to be a happy person, because if you will be happy you’ll get all the other good stuff that’s coming to you: holiness, wisdom, love, clarity of thought, a great memory, all the money that you need and a passion for learning and living. Remember also that happiness is the only medicine that can cure all types of physical and emotional ailments.


Of course the evil one will try to stop you with discouraging remarks, but here’s how you can blow past him so fast that he’ll break his ankles and fall to the floor. Just close your eyes… take a single deep breath…and think how Big and how Strong and how Good and Loving is YOUR G-d compared to that pitiful puny mosquito buzzing in your ear.


Now jump on the opportunity to imagine what your happiness will actually look like and feel like. Even the happiness that you haven’t reached yet – it makes no difference.  So start imagining: where are you going to be happy and with whom? When are you going to start feeling happy? How about right now! You don’t even need a reason to start.  How will you dress when you’re happy? How will you stand when you’re happy? How will you speak and smile when you’re happy?


Above all, your greatest happiness will come from doing this work by yourself without help from anybody else. I’m guiding you now, but you’re actually doing the work yourself and that is the most exhilarating feeling in the world. There are no limits or borders to how passionate you can be about yearning for simple happiness. Your happiness does not depend on any external conditions or circumstances. Your happiness is your own independent wish to be happy which no one can mess with.


Your freedom to yearn for whatever you want is so important to G-d that he invests you with more supernatural power, in this one area, than in anything else.



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We invite you to visit Dr. Zev Ballen's popular daily web journal Spiritual Coaching.

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