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Friday, 24 January 2014

The Ultimate Happiness

Yoma 77

The greatest happiness is to make others happy.

The prophet Daniel was shown a vision where sinning people were standing with their backs and behinds lewdly directed towards the Temple as they faced the east and worshipped the sun.  G-d calls upon the angel Michael to destroy the Jewish people.  Michael inquires as to the justness in destroying even the righteous amongst the people.  G-d replies that they too deserve punishment for not protesting the disgraceful actions of their brethren.

At the tender age of three, Abraham recognized that G-d was above time and space.  While the ancients worshipped the sun and the moon, Abraham understood that these celestial beings could not be deities, since they appeared and disappeared each day.  The true G-d must be Omnipresent.   Sadly, the phenomenon of worshipping the ephemeral existed at the time of Abraham, the time of Daniel, and is ever present today.   There are people who worship their houses, their cars, their jobs, movie-stars, sportspeople.  But worship of the mundane, of physical and material objects and beings that come and go, can never bring true happiness.   

Anyone who lives a life of true joy understands this.   True joy is the worship of the Almighty, it is the rejoicing in the bounty that He bestows upon us, the relationships with which He enriches our lives, the intangibles that He has blessed us with, such as education, health and family.

However, the angel Michael is castigated: You can’t live joyfully when others around you are destroying their lives.  When your friends and associates are worshipping the sun, it affects you.  Not only is this true insofar as our obligation to help them is concerned, but my environment and my friends ultimately have an impact on the way I live my life.  When everyone around me is facing the sun, unless I am sharing with them the beauty of living beyond the ephemeral, I am bound to be caught up in the cult of sun-worship. 

But here’s the greatest key to happiness: The paramount way to be happy in life is to share my happiness with others.  We are placed in this world to be givers.  What better way to give than to impress upon those around me how to achieve a life of purpose, a life of higher calling, a life of true happiness?   Today, don’t just give somebody something material to afford them temporary joy; teach them how to achieve a lifetime of rejoicing.  

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