Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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Rejoice

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A dvar Torah for Devarim 26, Parshat Ki Savo...

This week’s portion begins with the laws pertaining to the first-fruit offering that we are to bring to Jerusalem. The law tells us to do certain specific things, such as which fruit to take, to put them in a basket, where to take it, whom to give it to, and what to say when we give it to him.

Fine. Up to here, all of this is easy enough. But then the law states, “You shall rejoice with all the goodness that Hashem, your God, has given you and your household—you and the Levite and the proselyte who is in your midst.” [i]

Whether I feel like it or not, I can put fruit in a basket and do all of these other physical things, but how can I be commanded to rejoice if I do not feel like it? How can He command us to rejoice if we are feeling down that day?

The law given here is not merely the command to rejoice, but the law itself also explains what to do to become happy. Even if you do not feel like it, better yet, especially if you do not feel like it, then do what is commanded here.

The law clearly commands us to “rejoice with all the goodness that Hashem has given” us. This law seems to connote that things rejoice. Hard to believe, yet it specifically says that we are to rejoice with these things!

This is the key to being happy. Look at all of the good that God has given you. Look at your health, your children, your prosperity—whatever its level, and you will easily rejoice with these things.

Then, when we provide for the less fortunate, three additional things will happen.

Number one: We will see that there are people around who have greater needs than we do. This will help us to be thankful for our lot.

Number two: Making these other people happy will make us happy. Just seeing suffering relieved is a great source of joy, especially when you have been instrumental in removing it.

And number three: By caring for those less fortunate than you, you will acquire God’s additional kindness toward you. He will look down from above and say, “Oh, you see My servant so and so? He is doing such a good job that I am going to give him a raise so he can do even more.”

Again, we see that the law is not merely an obligation, it is a solution. It is not just something that “you got to do.” It is something that “you get to do.”

[i] Deut 26:11

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