Posted on | December 1, 2009 | By Mark Frankel | 51 Comments
My 52nd birthday is on Dec 2nd, so I wanted to share a short thought on happiness to mark the occasion.
The Mishna in Avos (6:1) says:
“Rabbi Meir said, anyone who engages in Torah study for its own sake merits many things. Not only that, but the entire world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called ‘friend’ and ‘beloved,’ he loves G-d, he loves man, he brings joy to G-d, he brings joy to man….”
The Maharal comments on “he brings joy to G-d, he brings joy to man”:
Happiness flows from completeness, just as grief is the result of loss and deficiency. Since this world was created to provide us with opportunities to enrich our lives through Torah, it is clear that Torah brings completeness into our lives and hence to the entire world. A person who engages in sincere Torah study brings joy to G-d for he fullfils the verse, “G-d shall rejoice in His works” by bringing completeness to His works.
So why doesn’t learning Torah give us tremendous happiness?
Perhaps we need to work on internalizing that learning is the ultimate source of happiness and bring the awareness of the completeness to the forefront when we learn.
In fact, any mitzvah has this potential to bring high levels of happiness, if we put ourselves in the right cognitive framework.