GOOD MORNING! Many of us labor under the common misconception that happiness is a happening: if only I had that 1939 Packard, if only I had a nicer home, if only I could sing on key - then I would be happy. The Torah teaches that happiness is an obligation. The Torah states, "... because you did not serve the Lord, your God, with happiness and a good heart..." (Deuteronomy 28:47) and then it goes on to state the consequences. This means that one can do everything right - but if he doesn't do it with joy - he is held accountable for his lack of joy! While very few people like obligations, this is at least one that they can see is for their own good - as long as they're not miserable over not fulfilling the obligation.
I was sent the following gorgeous piece. (I cannot track down its source; let me know if you know who is the author.) It is absolutely on target and a tremendous gift to humanity!
And one last piece about wishing someone to have "enough" in his or her life:
Secret for Happiness: focus on what you have ... and you will be happy.
Secret for Misery: focus on what you don't have ... and you will be miserable.
For more on "Happiness" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
Pharaoh dreams of cows and sheaves and demands for someone to interpret his dreams. The wine butler remembers Joseph's ability to interpret dreams. They bring Joseph from the jail. Pharaoh acknowledges the truth of Joseph's interpretation (that there would be seven good years followed by seven years of famine) and raises Joseph to second-in-command of the whole country with the mandate to prepare for the famine.
Ten of Joseph's brothers come to Egypt to buy food, Joseph recognizes them, but they don't recognize him. Joseph accuses them of being spies and puts them through a series of machinations in order to get them to bring his brother Benjamin to Egypt. Then Joseph frames Benjamin for stealing his special wine goblet.
Next week ... the denouement!
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
When the food ran out from the brother's first trip to Egypt, Jacob wants to send them back for more food. Yehuda informs his father that they cannot return to Egypt without bringing their brother Benjamin. The man (Joseph) explicitly told them not to return without Benjamin. Then Jacob reprimands Yehuda:
"...Why did you cause me bad by telling the man that you had another brother?" (Genesis 43:6).
The Midrash (Braishis Rabba 91:13) censures Jacob for evaluating the situation as bad. The Almighty said, "I am involved in having his son rule in Egypt and he says, 'Why did you cause me bad.' "
There are many events in each person's life that might appear to be negative when they first happen. However, if a person were to know the entire picture and the consequences of these events, he would readily see how the Almighty planned them for good. What is needed is patience. When an event that seems to be against your interests happens, ask yourself, "How can I be certain that this will turn out bad in the end?" The answer is that you never can. It is always premature to evaluate non-tragic life situations as bad. Acquire a "wait and see" attitude towards events. This will prevent you from much needless suffering in your life.
To internalize this principle, make a list of events that happened in your own life that at first seemed to be negative, but which you later saw were positive.
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Hanukah Dvar Torah
based on From Living Each Day by Rabbi Dr. A. Twersky
Hillel, the great rabbi, taught that on the first night of Hanukah we light one candle and each successive night we add an additional candle until on the eighth night there are eight candles.
Why did Hillel prescribe this method for commemorating the eight days of Hanukah? Wouldn't it have been more impressive to light eight candles each night?
There are two important lessons for us to learn: (1) We must always strive to grow and increase our spirituality. One never stays in the same place - you either improve or you fall behind. (2) It is a mistake to grasp too much too fast. Growing spiritually is like climbing a ladder. If you try to climb too many rungs in one step, you're likely to fall. That is why we increase the Hanukah lights one candle at a time!
CANDLE LIGHTING - December 18
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:19 - Hong Kong 5:25 - Honolulu 5:35
J'Burg 6:39 - London 3:34 - Los Angeles 4:28
Melbourne 8:22 - Mexico City 5:43 - Miami 5:15
New York 4:12 - Singapore 6:45 - Toronto 4:24
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Happiness is when what you think,
what you say, and
what you do are in harmony.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
With Deep Appreciation to
Ephraim and Hannah Zion
Rabbi Kalman Packouz
Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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