Monday, February 19, 2007

Guest Posting By Rabbi Tal Zwecker - Simcha [Part II]

Simcha - Part I can be read here

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is famous for the saying "Mitzvah Gedola lehiyos beSimcha Tamid" - It is a great mitzvah to always be joyous and happy. I once heard a Rosh Yeshiva express his feelings that if such a Tzaddik said it, it must be true but he seemed at a loss to explain whose opinion it was that there is an actual mitzva of simcha.

The opinion that Simcha is a mitzva is found in the works of Rabbeinu Bachya on the Chumash and in Kad haKemach.

The verse most often cited as proof for Simcha in seving Hashem is found where we are rebuked for not serving Him with joy (Devarim 28:47), "Because you did not serve the Lord Your G-d in joy with a glad heart."

R' Bachya in Naso writes that the feeling of joy and simcha while fulfilling mitvos is in itself a mitzva and just as fulfilling the commandments is an avoda (a form of service and worship) so too is simcha called an avoda as in the above cited verse. And also the verse in Tehilim 100, Ivdu es Hashem beSimcha, serve Hashem with Joy, we see therefore that simcha is considerd shleimus in avoda, complete service and worship.

In Kad haKemach under the heading of simcha he also writes that simcha is a mitzva from the Torah and that it is even more important than the mitzva itself!

Even among those that did not codify simcha as a mitzva all agree that it is important and a great form of Divine service see for example the Rambam at the end of the laws of Lulav where he says that simcha and rejoicing that one feels while serving G-d and fulfilling the commandments is a great avoda.

The Sefer Charedim in his Introduction also writes that each mitzva is compared to a great gift from Hashem and the greater the simcha when fulfilling it, the greater the sachar - the reward we receive!

The Pele Yoetz explains that even though the Talmud in Kiddushin 39b teaches that there is no reward in this world for mitzvos, that doesn't apply to the joy that accompanies them. Sachar mitzva is enjoyed by man even in this world!

He quotes the Sefer Charedim who relates that the Holy Kabbalist, the Ari"zal, himself taught that the way he earned all his lofty levels of holiness (that the gates of wisdom and ruach hakodesh (Divine Inspiration) were opened for him) was, as a reward for the great simcha he had when fulfilling each and every mitzvah.

Next time imy"H : Practical advice about simcha, and happiness/joy vs. fear/awe in serving G-d.


At February 19, 2007 at 4:44:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because you did not serve the Lord Your G-d in joy with a glad heart."
Am Israel did not yet finish the Tikunim. Only when it is done people will know right away that Shamayim bestowed to see what it's all Emet. They are near but not in the final destination yet.

At February 20, 2007 at 2:18:00 PM EST, Blogger Beisrunner said...

The source is "Veahavta et hashem elokecha"

If you love someone, you will appreciate what they give you and be happy in their presence.

All the more so for Hashem

At February 20, 2007 at 11:32:00 PM EST, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Great post. Maybe this could lead into another post about the concept of "Simcha Shel Mitzvah", which is something this generation (myself included) seem to forget about during our day to day life.

At February 21, 2007 at 6:19:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Neil. You are in luck since that is the topic for Part III!


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