JOYFULNESS

The United States Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The founding fathers borrowed these lofty concepts, of course, from Torah itself: G-d grants each of us life, and has blessed us with liberty, that is, the ability to discern and choose between good and evil. And G-d, via His Torah, blesses us with the guaranteed, iron-clad right and obligation to pursue true happiness. And what is true happiness? The fulfillment of His commandments. Torah does not define happiness as the attainment of material things, or the acquisition of earthly power or influence. It does not define happiness as the gaining of status, fame or notoriety. Torah defines happiness as one thing: the fulfillment of Torah commandments, and therefore the fulfillment of our relationship with G-d. This applies both on the individual level and on the national level. And this true fulfillment of our Torah commitments brings “happiness and with gladness of heart” (ibid) both to ourselves and to G-d.
Happiness is what occurs when man and G-d are of one will. This, Torah teaches us that is is achieved through the fulfillment of G-d’s commandments. And only in the land of Israel can all the commandments be fulfilled. This is true happiness. Not a reward for performing G-d word, but the act itself of fulfilling G-d’s word. May we all be blessed with such happiness!

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