SUKKOS – NOTES OF PUBLIC LECTURE IN OTTAWA, 2013
Zeman Simchasenu – The time of our happiness.
What is happiness? We all have our own conceptions of where we can find the elusive happiness that we are all seeking.
A Torah source for where happiness can be found:
Pikudei Hashem Yesharim Mesamchei Lev – The mitzvos of Hashem our straight, and they make the heart happy. (Tehilim 19:9)
What is the etymology of Pikudim (“Heart Happiness”)? – it’s Pikadon =“Deposit”, i.e., placed for safekeeping within all of us.
This means Torah and Mitzvos are deposited or hardwired into our Saichel = automatized decisions. Therefore only these can be Mesamchai Lev. Because there is no Simcha in the world comparable to being driven by our Saichel. Because then our actions are completely in synch with our intellectual and emotional self. And that’s why it says, Mesamchai “Lev” and not Mesamchai “Adam” – because the material human being derives happiness from the physical and materialistic world (passions and desires), however, the Lev (soul/intellectual/emotional) can only derive happiness from Spirituality = Torah and Mitzvos.
There’s two reasons why no person can be happy unless he leads a Torah and Mitzvos life:
1) Parable of peasant marrying a princess. Even if he brings her every desire in the world – it’s all worthless
to her. Because SHE is a princess, never to be satisfied by a mere peasant. She’s too elite. That’s the soul vis-à-vis the body.
2) Since the strong desire to fulfill mitzvos is hardwired in our souls, not doing so will leave us unfulfilled and depressed. This means any Jew is naturally inbred with this deeply rooted desire – even one who was never exposed to this lifestyle ever before!
7. Sometimes we are all stymied by looking over our shoulder at others who are performing mitzvos at a higher/different level. This deflates us. We wonder if we could, or even should, be like them? Why must there be so many variations in doing the Ratzon Hashem (will of Hashem)?
8. (Michtav Mieliyahu, vol. 1, P. 22 on the bottom [with a little embellishment]) – a long line of 70 ambassadors representing their countries nervously standing before the King/Monarch. You are second in line. You overly rehearsed and overly practiced the choreography. You planned each and every word, each and every phrase, each and every inflection, each and every accent and each and every tone of voice by having hundreds of friends listen/comment/critique you. You used mirrors and video cameras. You practiced until it was flowing through your veins and it dwelled in every fiber of your being. Then, you looked down at the gift that #1 had on the floor on his right. It all looked too familiar. You just know that you’ve seen his stance and posture before. But before you could deal with the whirlwind in your head, they called up #1. Incredibly, his gait and strides looked just like what you had practiced thousands of times. Then, the unthinkable. He slowly bowed to the ground. Yes, without a doubt. He looked just like you. In a sweat, you watch his 15 minute speech – no mistaking it. It was you. Then, the nightmare! He reached down to pick up the boxed gift – exactly the same as yours! Trembling, you look over your shoulder at the 68 people behind you. And they look just like you!
How would the king feel, knowing that he had nothing to look forward to? Awful! No one had anything unique or special for him. No variety or nuance to color his life.
How would you feel? That you had nothing to add to please the king! You, as an ambassador, had nothing unique about yourself to present to the king!
The king is Hashem.
The man in panic is each one of us.
How disturbing would it be if every single person on the face of this planet had the exact same gift to offer Hashem? But instead – we were each created with different challenges and skill sets. Therefore, we are all able to give a different quality of gift, a separate nuance of present, based on our own inner tools and inbred laboratories. This is Kiddush Hashem! This is K’vod Shamayim!
So let’s use what we’ve been given by Hashem to serve Him with every ounce of our individualities! Our challenges and difficulties to overcome are actually opportunities to offer to Hashem something that’s completely different than any other
person on the face of the planet.