Category: Simchah

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Idealism

Judaism has numerous words for particular ideals; there is the tzadik, the chasid, the ba’al teshuvah, etc… But does it have a word for idealism itself – for the inherent value of a burning desire to pursue an ideal? This question is quite important. If there is no word for idealism in lashon hakodesh, neither in biblical Hebrew nor rabbinic...

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Yahrzeit and Simchah

This Shabbos is the first yahrzeit of the children Aryeh Lev ben Avraham, a”h Noach Simcha ben Avraham, a”h Adira Emunah bat Avraham, a”h Natan Yekutiel ben Avraham, a”h You may recall the story; four children, were killed when a fire struck their home in Teaneck. Firemen were at the home a mere four hours before, but declared the house...

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The Five Hardest Words

At Mussar Kallah V, R’ Ephraim Becker said something that really resonated with me. Of all the phrases in English that one could say — and mean what one says — which five words are hardest? R’ Becker offered the sentences: “I’m fine. How are you?” To say “I’m fine” and really mean it, one must have bitachon, belief that...

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Simchah and Oneg

Simchah is related to wanting and having, because Ben Zoma defines the wealthy person as “sameiach bechelqo — happy with his lot”. The Tanya speaks about how each aspect of the soul lives in tension between “ratzon – desire/will” and ta’anug. Thus we see that “oneg” too is related to wanting and having. However, the mitzvah on Yom Tov is...

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The Pursuit of Happiness

Rabbi Noah Weinberger of Aish haTorah, in the summary of his 48 Ways to Wisdom (an elaboration of the 48 steps to acquiring Torah listed in Avos, beraisa 6:6) on aish.com, writes: Did you ever begin a stimulating physical activity and then discover you somehow can’t extricate yourself? You pick up a bag of potato chips, and start eating two,...

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Hopeless

(For an earlier post on depression and hopelessness, see “Raba Got Up and Slaughtered Rav Zeira” about a famous gemara about Purim. This thought comes mostly from R’ Menachem Zupnik, said a number of years ago, with some embellishments of my own. (Some conscious, some due to memory drift.)   We say in the weekday Shemoneh Esrei: “Velamalshinim, al tehi...

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What Shabbos is For

Jonathan Rosenblum shared on February 21st on the Cross-Currents blog a beautiful thought by Rabbi Yaakov Estreicher. To quote: Rabbi Estreicher presented Shabbos as the key to experiencing life with joy, of rejoicing in one’s portion. He noted how rare it is to meet someone overflowing with joy. If we asked someone how he was, and he responded enthusiastically by...

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No rest for the weary…

(This post is a different treatment of the same themes as “Mas’ei — the Journey as a Name of G-d“.) וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן. And Yaaqov settled in the land of his fathers’ dwelling, in the land of Canaan. – Bereishis 37:1 (איוב ט) “אם שוט ימית פתאום…” אנטונינוס שאל את רבינו, אמר לו: מהו דכתיב: אם שוט...

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Two Temidim a Day

One Purim at the se’udah, when people were feeling a little levity, Rav Chaim Volozhiner asked his Rebbe, the Vilna Gaon, for a berakahah. The Vilna Gaon blessed him that he would merit to bring two temidim daily. Rav Chaim was thrown — we do not bring the tamid, the twice-daily offering, today as there is no beis hamiqdash!1 The...

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Marbim beSimchah

Esther’s life was overall a very tragic one. The story ends, and we’re told about Mordechai’s rise to political power and the taxes and all. Meanwhile, she is still married to a non-Jewish drunkard who killed a previous wife on a whim. No happily ever after for her! And I think this is what Esther was thinking of when she said...