August 1, 2014 7:09 am at 7:09 am #613311
How can it be a mitzvah gedola to be b’simcha tamid if we’re supposed to be sad during the three weeks, sefira and on fast days?August 1, 2014 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1036484
The Passuk says that we are punished “Tachas Asher Lo Avadta Es Hashem Elokecha B’simcha Uvtuv Levav”. HKBH wants us to be happy when we perform His Mitzvos. That doesn’t mean there is a Kiyum in randomly being happy otherwise. At some points we should be happy with life and some points in life call for more solemnity.
See the Aruch Hashulchan 551:1-4.August 1, 2014 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #1036485
So the above only refers to when doing the mitzvos?
PS: I thought someone would bring up that passuk; it’s in my bar mitzvah parsha 🙂August 1, 2014 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #1036486
The above means whatever you want it to mean. It’s attributed to R’ Nachman of Breslov. I cannot claim to be at all holding in R’ Nachman’s Hashkafos and philosophy, but I can definitely assume that it doesn’t go against Halachos.August 1, 2014 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #1036487
Which one of the 613 mitzvos is it to be happy always? I’m pretty sure it’s not…August 1, 2014 3:24 pm at 3:24 pm #1036488
The statement comes, I believe, from R’Nachman of Breslov. The best source for such a concept, I believe, is ??????? ??? ??????? ??????????? in Tehillim. Since one is supposed to live their life as an Eved Hashem, and that Avoda is supposed to be B’Simcha, you must be B’Simcha at all times. However, I don’t think that the posuk is saying that all avoda at all time must be b’simcha and I don’t that R’Nachman meant the statement literally either.August 1, 2014 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #1036489
I know that the posuk you quoted is often interpreted that way but I don’t think that is pashut pshat in posuk. The full posuk is ?????? ?????? ???-????????? ???-?????? ????????? ??????????? ???????? ?????–????? ????.
I think pashut pshat is that the posuk is faulting the Jewish people for not serving Hashem when things were happy and good from the abundance of wealth. Meaning because we didn’t use the material wealth and happiness Hashem afforded us in order to ease our service of him, He will send us in Golus and ??????????? ???-????????? ?????? ?????????????? ?????? ?????, ???????? ????????? ?????????? ????????? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ???-?????????? ??? ??????????? ??????.August 1, 2014 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1036490
ben: I thought for a while that that was Pshat in the Passuk. But I think the Esnachta splits it up differently. It means “because you did not worship Hashem your God with happiness and goodness of heart, while you had plenty.” The Esnachta splits up the sentence with B’simcha Uvtuv Levav going back on the Asher Avadta, with the Rov Kol defining why we should have had no issue being happy serving Hashem and why it’s a punishable offense (implying that it’s not as bad to serve Hashem unhappily in bad times, which makes sense).
Also, if all three phrases (Simcha, Tuv Levav, Rov Kol) were referring to the conditions in which we should have served Hashem, then they would have the same prefix. They don’t. The Mem before Rov Kol tells me that my reading of how to break up the Passuk is correct.August 1, 2014 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #1036491
I don’t think it means something that different from the Chovos Halevavos. It should also be pointed out that the Gemara says that the Shechina is Shora on Simcha shel Mitzva. The proof is from Vayehi Kinagen Haminagen. Rashi says that that was Simcha shel Mitzva since Hashroas Hashechina is a Mitzva.
Since the Gemara is not telling us Halachos for a Navi, it stands to reason that there is some form of Hashra’a on non-Neviim too — as we say, Veruach Kadshecha Al Tikach Mimenu — and which is dependent on being Besimcha. Being Besimcha for that reason is a Mitzva.August 1, 2014 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #1036492
It’s unhealthy to be happy ALL the timeAugust 1, 2014 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #1036493
The key word to note is “sad”. Reducing simcha doesn’t mean one needs to be sad. I don’t think Hashem wants us to be depressed. I’ve always understood these weeks which lead up to Elul to prepare ourselves for the yomim norayim. The mindset is to move us to do teshuva and yearn for Hashem’s dwelling once again. Indeed it is a sad time but you can’t make yourself an Avel but you can move your mind to those things by which is bringing yourself closer to Hashem which i think is part of the point.August 1, 2014 5:59 pm at 5:59 pm #1036494
Benign, it is not a new invention. The Rishonim were Mefaresh that Pasuk this way.August 1, 2014 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #1036495
“meno It’s unhealthy to be happy ALL the time “
I don’t know anyone who has that problem.
Most people are so far removed from being happy all the time that even if they think they’ve reached that level, they are really not even close.August 1, 2014 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #1036496
There’s a Yehuda Glantz song (I don’t know the source of the lyrics) that says “A person tends to get depressed periodically. You need to remember not to stop being happy even when you are depressed.”August 2, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm #1036497
First of all, being sad and being depressed are two different things. One who is sad is motivated to, if at all possible, remove the source of the sadness, or at least grow from it and become a better person. One who is depressed tends to wallow unproductively in that depression. Now we are very sad. But we are not depressed.
Secondly, I heard (unconfirmed) that R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky ZT”L stopped the band at one of his grandchildren’s Chasunos from playing this song, since it was not Emes. I have heard a “Litvishe” alternate version that goes, “Simchah Gedolah Liyehos b’Mitzvah Tamid”.October 12, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm #1036498
R’ Avraham Gurvitz shlit”a told me that this ideology comes from R’ Nachman miBresliv, and that the Nesivos in his tzavooh speaks very sharply against this idea. He said, (apparently like R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky), that a correct version would be Simcha Gedolah Liheyos BMitzvah Tamid.
It seems that the Machloikes is how to explain ???? ?? ?’ ?????, “Serve God with Happiness” – whether the happiness is a means of its own to serve God, or whether the happiness is the ideal way of serving God (i.e. Serve God happily)October 12, 2014 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1036499
Classic case of a bad chiasmus.October 12, 2014 5:31 pm at 5:31 pm #1036500
??October 12, 2014 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #1036501
We should be content.
Knowing that what we haver is perfect for us and the best thing should make us love HK”BH and be content with ourselves.October 12, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #1036502
We should indeed. In fact, any feeling of discontentment is a sore lack of Emunah. However, there is no mitzvah to “Be Happy”.October 13, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am #1036503
yekke: I have often wondered if that’s true. If my own choices lead to my discontentment, how is that a lack of Emunah?October 13, 2014 4:13 am at 4:13 am #1036504
Rabbenu Bachya in Kad Hakemach (‘Simcha’) argues that it is usually good to not be b’simcha. In fact, simcha is only mentioned in the Torah in connection to serving Hashem.
Having said that, perhaps the saying can be understood in that sense: as depression leads to sin, it is righteous to always be in a positive frame of mind, so that one will be safe. I would need to see the source to determine if Rabbi Nachman meant more than that, namely that one should be dancing in the streets at all times.October 13, 2014 5:49 am at 5:49 am #1036505
I heard from Rav Yehuda Ben-Yishai that there is no source for this saying. His proof was, in fact Tisha b’Av.October 13, 2014 9:50 am at 9:50 am #1036506
Sam2 – I always understodd it that one who is truly maamin in HKB”H and understands that everything comes from Him and any matzav you are in comes from him, one wouldn’t be sad (perhaps similar to the Ibn Ezra on jealousy).
You raise a valid point, that since there is bechira, and my own choices can lead me to certain situations “without HKB”H causing it” (Enter Yediya/Bechira).
Perhaps one can say that it is because He is in charge, and will provide you what you need, and whatever Matzav you see yourself in, whether He caused it or you caused it, He can get you out, and will do what He decides is best for you.
See Chovois Halvovois Shaar Bitachon.October 13, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm #1036507
You can be happy and serious at the same time. It’s not a contradiction. If you look at the photos of Rav Elyashiv ZTZ”L, you’ll notice that he never smiled. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t happy. Far from it. He had an internal simchah from his own personal Avodas Hashem.
Even though we are genuinely sad during the 3 weeks (or try to be), we can still be satisfied deep down that we are mourning the way Hashem wants us to.
It’s just a a different type of simchah than the one we show in times like Yomtov, or on Purim.October 13, 2014 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #1036508
Happy and serious is indeed not a contradiction. Happy and sad, or happy and mourning, is. “Satisfied that we are mourning the way Hashem wants us to” is in no way simcha.
I’m surprised no one has brought up aveilus yet. It is very difficult for a person who has just lost a close relative to genuinely rejoice (not just go through the motions) at weddings, chagim, and other occasions of simcha.
Incidentally, it is impossible for a person to literally be happy all the time. We can only understand and experience happiness because of the existence of sadness and tragedy. Without that contrast, neither emotion can really touch us. In theory (not that these people really exist) a person whose life is 100% perfect has no conception of sadness, and a person whose life is 100% miserable has no conception of happiness.October 13, 2014 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #1036509
Who suggested that happy and serious would contradict each other? We were discussing sadness. Of course, during the 3 Weeks, we are ????? over the Churban, over our loss, and of what we want to get back. However, a person shouldn’t mourn over the state of his life, his matzav, because that would be a ????? in ?????. One with true ????? will understand that everything that happens to him is heavenly ordained, and that HKB”H is ??? ???? ????? ?? ??????.October 13, 2014 8:45 pm at 8:45 pm #1036510
The truth is – IF we all did ALL the mitzvos ALL the time, we WOULD be b’simcha tamid, because a) Moshiach would come and the B”HM would be rebuilt, and Hashem would be happy with US. So it is a MITZVAH GEDOLAH to do all the mitzvos, in order to be b’simcha tamid.October 14, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am #1036511
If you’re discussing a sentence from seforim, it is best to do so in context. So here are some selections from Rebbe Nachman’s teachings on joy, including the famous sentence that’s the subject of this thread. This is just a small sampling.
“It is a great mitzva to be happy at all times. Be determined to keep away from depression and aim to be happy constantly. Happiness is the remedy for all kinds of diseases because many illnesses are caused by depression. You must be resourceful in order to make yourself happy. Often you must do something a little bit crazy in order to make yourself happy.”
“When a person is depressed, his intellect and his mind go into exile. This makes it very hard for him to concentrate his mind on teshuva, returning to God. The main reason why people are far from God is that they do not stop to consider what the main purpose of their existence is. But when someone is happy his mind becomes settled and he is able to understand things clearly. Joy is freedom. When a person fills his mind with joy, his intellect becomes freed from its exile. He can control his mind and intellect however he wants so as to concentrate on his goal and return to God.”
“When someone is happy all day it is easier for him to spend an hour or so with a broken heart, talking to God and pouring out his heart like water before Him. After a broken heart comes joy. The test of whether your heart was really broken is if afterwards you feel joy.”
“You should constantly center your thoughts on contemplating the root of all things. This is the source of all that is good and all joys. You will feel an overwhelming joy, because when one contemplates this root which is wholly good then everything good and joyous is merged into one and radiates with abundant light.”
“Most important of all, you must be happy while you are praying. Be sure always to pray with joy. The same applies to carrying out the mitzvot. You should be especially joyous on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Even on weekdays it is a great mitzva to be happy always.”October 14, 2014 1:18 pm at 1:18 pm #1036512
“However, a person shouldn’t mourn over the state of his life, his matzav, because that would be a ????? in ?????. One with true ????? will understand that everything that happens to him is heavenly ordained, and that HKB”H is ??? ???? ????? ?? ??????.”
Everyone goes through suffering in life, and understanding that the suffering one experiences has been heavenly ordained may help him to realize that it will eventually pass and better times will come. But that does not negate the fact that he is suffering now. It is very dangerous to make statements like this that essentially posit that people who are suffering have no right to be miserable.October 22, 2014 2:16 pm at 2:16 pm #1036513
Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 29:2 also says one should always be happy. Not sure if a similar statement is also in the original S’A”.
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