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Baruch Hashem, we get a Mazal Tov. My son got engaged!

In the process, there were things that frustrated me. They frustrated me so much, I felt I needed to get out of the house a little and let out some steam. My car was low on gas. It also needed a car wash, and an internal cleaning. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

The gas station/car wash between Bayit Vegan and Har Nof is the place I usually get it all done in one stop. When I got to the vacuuming part of the car wash, where they have an Arab team doing the job, I got out of the car to let them do their service. And then – I got the goosebumps.

On the floor, right under my feet, amongst the dirt, water and soap and garbage, right there on the floor was a Mezuzah. The name ש-ד-י was staring at me. It was BH wrapped in saran wrap, but it was being unintentionally stepped on by the workers and driven over by the cars after their car wash.

Immediately, I picked it up. Immediately, I realized that the frustrations I had been going through were just to get me out of the house, to pick up this Mezuzah with Hashem’s Name in it, and prevent it from being disgraced.

Of course, I chose to think the way that I did, to explain what had gotten me frustrated. G-d did not frustrate me: I frustrated myself – and still, G-d allowed me to be frustrated, to get me over there and protect His Mezuzah that usually protects us. ש-ד-י  stands for שומר דלתות ישראל, He watches over the doors of Yisrael.

Why was I frustrated? Something good was happening, something amazing was happening. My son was getting engaged!!!… it just wasn’t happening like I thought it would happen. How dumb! Why should good things happen the way we want them to happen? Why should I mind G-d’s business? G-d is watching over me, and I think I am watching over G-d! How insane!!! This is a more accurate definition of insanity than of Einstein’s definition: Trying to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results! Insanity is defined as trying to watch over G-d and make sure that He does what’s good for you, the way you think is good for you! Especially if you saw so many times in life, how He protects you, better than you protects yourself!

This is why people are not happy. It is because they feel that they are not successful according to their perspective of success. Success means getting in the game, not winning the game. Success means showing up to work, not making money. Success means going out on a date, whether or not you get engaged. Success means getting married, whether or not you have children. Success means raising your children the best you can, whether or not your kids come out according to the dreams and hopes that you “prescribed” for them. Success means allowing your teens to bring you the Nahat they want, not the Nahat you expect. Success means writing my Parasha Sheets and trying to live by these ideals, not to never fear, fail, or get frustrated. When we change our perspective of success, we change our state of mind. And then, only then, can we be happy. That is all G-d wants from us. To serve him, with happiness. No matter what. No matter when. As R’ Nachman famously taught us, מצוה גדולה להיות בשמחה. It is a great Mitzvah to be happy!  What is the source of R’ Nachman’s words, that it is a great Mitzvah to be happy? Where does it say that? The answer is, it says,  עִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְקֹוָ֣ק בְּשִׂמְחָ֑ה Serve Hashem in happiness! Serving Hashem is what we have to do, in every moment of our lives. And the only way you can serve Him, is if you are serving Him happily. If you are not serving Him happily, you are not serving Him!

We mention in our prayers and in our Shabbat songs, that Shabbat is a time of happiness. ישמחו במלכותך שומרי שבת וקראי עונג. מנוחה ושמחה אור ליהודים יום שבתון . Shabbat is not only to be enjoyed, עונג שבת, it is a time to be happy!

It always bothered me. Where does it say in the Torah, that one is supposed to be happy on Shabbat?

The answer is, in this week’s Parasha! וּבְי֨וֹם שִׂמְחַתְכֶ֥ם וּֽבְמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם֘ וּבְרָאשֵׁ֣י חָדְשֵׁיכֶם֒ וּתְקַעְתֶּ֣ם בַּחֲצֹֽצְרֹ֗ת עַ֚ל עֹ֣לֹתֵיכֶ֔ם וְעַ֖ל זִבְחֵ֣י שַׁלְמֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָי֨וּ לָכֶ֤ם לְזִכָּרוֹן֙ לִפְנֵ֣י אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲנִ֖י יְקֹוָ֥ק אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם . On the days of your rejoicing, on your festivals and on your new-moon celebrations, you shall blow on the trumpets for your ascent-offerings and your peace sacrifices, and it shall be a remembrance before your G-d; I am the YKVK  your G-d. 

If we go through the process of elimination, we will find that holidays, and Rosh Hodesh, are not included in the days of happiness. This leaves us with only Shabbat as the day of happiness! I always wondered, why is Shabbat a day of happiness?

The Midrash Agadah writes that after G-d finished His Creation, He said to His creatures, Bless Me! The Angel of Shabbat said, יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְקֹוָ֣ק בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו Hashem should rejoice in His actions!  G-d, rejoice! Find Nahat in Your Creations! Immediately, G-d said to the Angel of Shabbat, “That is why, I will call you ‘Day of Happiness’, וּבְי֨וֹם שִׂמְחַתְכֶ֥ם , which is referring to Shabbat!

Shabbat is telling us to be happy that we are in the Game of Life, even if we did not win. It is telling us, It is up to you to find Nahat in what you have done, and not to expect that what you have done will bring you Nahat!

It is so interesting! Every single day of Creation, had some sort of frustration in it! Day One, G-d created the Light and Darkness, but He saw that that first light was not good for the masses, and for the time being. So he hid it for the Tzaddikim in the future! (This is the concept of אור הגנוז) Day Two, He created the Heavens, separating the upper waters and lower waters, with the Rakiah. The lower waters were upset that they were not close to G-d, so He compensated them. Day Three, G-d creates the trees and told them to have the same flavor as their fruit, but the trees don’t listen. Day Four, G-d creates Sun and Moon, and Moon complains that they are both the same size. Day Six, G-d creates Man, and He sins and brings death to the World.

Aaarrgghhh!!!! How frustrating!!!! Somehow, though, G-d finds that everything is good, even the frustrations! G-d finds Nahat; He does not expect Nahat to find Him! That is why Shabbat is the day of happiness!

Yosef was punished with two more years of prison, because on his level, he did not trust G-d enough. He tried a little harder than he was supposed to try to get himself out of the jail he had been in for ten years, for something he did not even do. How frustrating!! But that punishment of two more years is was held him in place, to be readily available to interpret Pharoah’s dream when the time finally came! If he had gotten out of jail any earlier, he would never have become second to the King!

About the author, Yosef

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