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GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS

2. Rabbi Yeruchem’s teacher, Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv of Kelm (1824-1898) wrote: “Creation is for human beings to live a life of pleasure and satisfaction, and not to live a life of frustration and distress as so many people appear to be living.” (Chochmah Umussar, vol.2, p.355)

1.3 Defining happiness It is impossible to adequately define happiness with words. Happiness is an emotional state which is an experience and not a concept. Emotions are comprised of physiological states and thoughts and only a person who has experienced happiness first hand can have an experience of what this actually means. By recalling the best moments of your life from your infancy and childhood, and from your entire life until the present, you will know what you personally mean by happiness.

A beautiful sunset and awesome natural scenes must be experienced visually to know what it really is. An uplifting symphony orchestra must be heard to know what it really is. Similarly happiness and joy must be experienced. Your brain will then produce the biochemistry that makes you feel good, and a brain scan will record the brainwaves consistent with these feelings.

When you master the attribute of gratitude and consistently do many acts of kindness, you will increase the amounts of authentic happiness experiences in your life.

1.4 Happiness is an obligation to oneself, to one’s fellow human beings, and to the Creator

  • (A)

    Happiness is an obligation to oneself

    • 1.

      There is no comparison between doing something with enthusiasm and joy and

doing it without enthusiasm and joy. If we would do everything with enthusiasm, there is no limit to the elevated levels we would reach. Enthusiasm generates power. A person with enthusiasm is able to overcome laziness and pursue wisdom and higher spiritual levels. (Chochmah Umussar vol. 2, p.172)

2. Happiness will heal a person from illness. (Rabainu Yonah (d.1263) to Proverbs 17:22)

A cheerful disposition is an inestimable treasure. It preserves health, promotes convalescence, and helps us cope with adversity. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch 1808-1888, rendered into English by Karin Paritzky-Joshua, Feldheim Pub.)

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HAPPINESS IS AN OBLIGATION

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