web analytics
August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event

Breakfast And Happiness (Part VI)

We are better off than 90% of the people in history, but instead of appreciating, we are remorseful over what we are missing.
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Often people think they will be happy when their goals are met. These goals can be noble, sublime and lofty – but usually they are not. Usually the “happiness” goals are: bright, respected, thin, desirable, and rich. Some of these goals are potentially dangerous[1], but the one that will ensure that happiness will never be achieved is the desire to be rich.

There is nothing wrong with money and there are plenty of philanthropic individuals who have significantly enhanced society. However, one who seeks to be rich in order to be happy has embarked on an endless path, for there is yet an individual who has concluded, “Now I’m rich, now I’m happy, now I’m stopping.”

As Dennis Prager points out: the Forbes 400 (list of America’s wealthiest citizens) is a killer for everyone but Number One. The pain of number 396 is probably only surpassed by number 401. The goal to want to be rich is a prison sentence to being locked-in-focus regarding the wealth of others.

But the problem which all of these goals share in common is that our desire to be thin, bright, desirable, rich, etc. is primarily sought in order to impress others. Our lives revolve around the proverbial “them” and what will they think and what will they say. This brings us back to never-ending adolescence.

Because we are so intoxicated over what others will think, we also imagine that all of the “others” – those in the distance – are happy.

Ironically, we have a great debt of gratitude to Hollywood celebrities, sport stars and politicians, for we imagine their lives to be grand and glorious. But when you read their memoirs you discover that they lived horrid, hollow lives.

Elizabeth Taylor is considered one of the most glamorous actresses to have ever graced the stage. Yet she was married eight times and had many romances independent of her marriages. Kitty Dukakis was envied as the woman who was destined to be the first lady. After Michael Dukakis’s defeat by George H.W. Bush, Kitty not only succumbed to her drug and alcohol addictions but also resorted to drinking rubbing alcohol in a suicide attempt. The examples are limitless, and one wonders if an actuary has been able to compute the ephemeral lifespan of a rock star.

The vast majority of us should be overjoyed at our health and our wealth, the political and economic freedom that we enjoy, and that we have not lost a child or suffered extreme traumas. We are better off than 90% of the people in history, but instead of appreciating, we are remorseful over what we are missing – like former baseball star pitcher Dwight Gooden, who couldn’t enjoy his $6 million because his fellow star pitcher Orel Hershiser was receiving more.

The antidote to the despoiling obsession regarding others and the greatest component to achieving happiness is gratitude.

There is an inverse relationship between expectations and gratitude. The more you expect, the less grateful you will be; the less you expect, the more you will be grateful. This is why expectations are an obstacle to happiness. One who always expects to be well will not be able to grin and bear ill health, misbehaving children or unexpected traffic.

Expectations ruin gratitude.

Gratitude is acquired by concentrating on what you have – not on what you are missing. People focus on what they do not have, and what they have lost. Everyone can write a diary of his or her life that would either make the reader cry or admire what a blessed life has been lived. It is up to us to decide which diary we wish to author: the book of happiness or the book of misery.

About the Author:

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

11 Responses to “Breakfast And Happiness (Part VI)”

  1. Kay Xiarras says:

    I expect you to disappear

  2. Avis Johnson says:

    What a Tzadik ! You are so loved Rabbi Teller!!! I’ve watched all your classes on Naaleh Torah Online!

  3. Avis Johnson says:

    What a Tzadik ! You are so loved Rabbi Teller!!! I’ve watched all your classes on Naaleh Torah Online!

  4. Serenity is directly proportionate to expectations…..AA Big Book.

  5. Ronnie Lee says:

    Thankyou ,that is very wise.

  6. _V,, Don’t worry, be happy!

  7. Ken Man says:

    Stupid man, kooky like Imans, where do they get their austere ideas from, expect more and if you actually get any where close you’ll be a whole lot more grateful and happy than with less

  8. Ken Man says:

    Stupid man, kooky like Imans, where do they get their austere ideas from, expect more and if you actually get any where close you’ll be a whole lot more grateful and happy than with less

  9. Doreen Siler says:

    Wisdom….well said!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)
Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price
Latest Judaism Stories

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.


Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)


Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.


The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

Thinking about how much we can do in comparison to what we have done serves as a corrective against pride and arrogance.

Separating fun from happiness can liberate, regarding (a) time, (b) money and (c) jealousy.

People expectantly go through their lives awaiting the event that will make them happy.

If you expect more, you will be less grateful; if you expect less, you will be more grateful.

So goes the story about a man in the silly town of Chelm who visited a public bathhouse and found himself in a terrible predicament. Without the distinction of clothing, everyone looked alike. “Among all these men who look alike,” he said to himself, “how will I ever know which one is me?” He solved his dilemma by tying a red string around his big toe.

In the campaign to rob a consumer of any sense of contentedness, which translates into sales, strategy is often focused on confusing need with want and the illusion of being dissatisfied.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/breakfast-and-happiness-part-vi/2014/03/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: