A path that leads to happiness

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The corona has affected our mood. We have to admit that most of us are less happy and more worried than usual.

The word “happy” appears six times in this week’s Torah potion. When we examine these occurrences of the word “happy” we discover that happiness invariably comes when we give to others and share our happiness with them. Here are two passages that illustrate the point: “And you shall rejoice in your Festival – you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities”; “You, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, and the Levite who is in your cities – you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God, in all your endeavors.”

Happiness appears in the presence of the family, the servant, the widow, the stranger, the orphan, and the poor. Happiness comes when we leave the “I” and enter the “We.” There is giving and no taking. Is the search for those in our neighborhood surroundings who are isolated, ill, or in need the path to our own personal happiness?

The parasha shows us a fascinating and unexpected path towards finding happiness. It’s a revolutionary kind of happiness that depends not on our own accomplishments but rather on our concern for others.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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