Please learn the following for the Refouah Shelemah of Sarah Miryam bat Tamar, Avraham Yossef ben Sultana, and Michelle bat Simin and the ilui Neshamah of my grandfather, Ataollah ben Elazar. Todah Rabbah!
Parashat Ki Tisa- A Smile Shouldn't Take a While....
Mi'She'Nihnas Adar Marbim BeSimhah! Adar is the month of happiness, and Pourim arguably is the happiest day of the year J We are told by Haz''al to be overly happy and joyous on this day. But can we seriously be instructed to be happy on demand? Most people aren't in control of their emotions….Can I really be expected to instantly become happy?
And the answer is, OF COURSE YOU CAN SILLY!
I'll tell you how.The method to being a happy person is to focus on what you have, not what you don't have. If you can do this, and not just say it to yourself, it is a GUARANTEE that you will become, and remain, a happy happy person. No one will be able to take that smile off your face….
You have probably heard this before, it's nothing new, but the point isn't to hear it new, it's to DO it new. It has to penetrate into your heart, not just your head. Let's look at this approach a different, fresh way. Looking into the Parashah will help us do so….
In the beginning of Parashat Ki Tisa, HaKadosh Barukh Hu instructs Moshe Rabbenu to set out and count each and every person of countable age in Kelal Yisrael. So Moshe Rabbenu goes out to each and every tent and doesn't enter (to respect their privacy) but rather waits by the entrance until a bat kol (voice from Heaven) calls from Shamayim and notifies how many people live in that tent. And so he continues….
But wait a minute! IF A VOICE FROM SHAMAYIM IS TELLING MOSHE RABBENU HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THE TENT, THEN WHY DOES MOSHE RABBENU HAVE TO EVEN GO OUT AND INDIVIDUALLY COUNT ALL OF BENEI YISRAEL? SHAMAYIM ALREADY KNOWS!!!! For what possible reason would HaKadosh Barukh Hu make Moshe Rabbenu go around the heat of the desert knocking on each and every door when HaShem already knows the answer to His own question!
HaKadosh Barukh Hu in his infinite wisdom wanted to teach us a beautiful lesson here. Until you don't count what you have, you won't realize its' worth. If we don't count our Berakhot, we will never realize how much HaKadosh Barukh Hu blesses us with. HaKadosh Barukh Hu gives us so SO much! Do we realize this? Even when we aren't on our best behavior, HaShem continues to provide for us and give us life. Even in the middle of doing something not so good, HaShem continues to give us the ability to see and air to breathe!
The pasuk says And He gave to Moshe, when He had concluded speaking to him upon Mount Sinai, two Tablets of the Testimony (31:18)
This means that when Ribono Shel Olam handed the Luhot HaBerit to Moshe Rabbenu, the people had already made the Egel haZahav, the Golden Calf! The Midrash Rabah points out that even when Benei Yisrael were making a secondary god against HaShem, HAKADOSH BARUKH HU WAS STILL WRITING THE LUHOT FOR THEM! Look how much HaShem loves us and gives to us!! Aren't you amazed?
Sometimes when we don't have ONE thing small, we start to overlook all the good things that we have. Barukh HaShem we can see, we can hear, we can breathe, talk, read, write, walk, we have all our limbs, we have family and friends that love us, HaKadosh Barukh Hu loves us, Barukh HaShem that we are Jewish, that we have food to eat and a place to sleep. How about electricity and running water? Indoor plumbing?? That's a good one…. Have you ever thought how lucky we are that HaShem gave us such thing as an imagination? A voice? Sensation in our fingers? Taste buds to taste food?? Colors, and not just black and white world, music and humor?? And these are just the general things! Just imagine all the little details in our lives that we tend to overlook! We should start becoming more aware of our surroundings and stop taking things for granted….
Rav Noah Weinberg of Aish HaTorah zt''l set up a mashal that illustrates this point beautifully. Consider you are sitting in your office on the 82nd floor of the Empire State Building when a big, tough man barges into the room aiming for the window wanting to jump. As he takes a sprint, you lunge forward and tackle him down in an attempt to stop him. 'Give me one reason not to jump!' he says, 'Speak to me' you tell him. And so he begins a fifteen minute discourse on all his problems in life, and they are the worst you have ever heard, you almost feel bad not letting him jump in the first place. And now he's sitting there waiting for you to answer him with just one reason not to jump. Gulp.
Suddenly a divine moment of inspiration falls unto you and you tell him, 'Let me ask you something. On top of all the troubles that you have, if you were also blind, and right before you are about to jump, HaShem gives you the ability to see, would you still jump?'
'Certainly not!' he replies.
'So what's stopping you from living? Blindness?'
Do we really have to have things taken away from us to realize the things we have? There will always be good things in life and things that may not seem so good. You can choose to focus on either one. There will rarely be a moment when everything seems only good to us, more often than not we will always have something missing in life (or at least feel that way) so it's better to take what he have and just focus on that instead of letting what we are missing infiltrate the Berakhot we have. We have the choice where to focus our attention, and therefore we DO have the choice to be happy.
Be'Ezrat HaShem in the zekhout of this past Pourim and in the zekhout of Mordekhai and Ester, may we learn how to count our Berakhot and focus on the things we do have and may we always always always be be'Simha, and moreover, to share it with others! From today on, take it upon yourself to only see the good, and to even write it down every single day, and Be'Ezrat HaShem you will begin to see how your life will change for the better….may the Simhah of Pourim last us through the year!
Based on the passionate and inspirational teachings of Rav Milstein
Make Your Neshamah Fly!