web analytics
April 28, 2015 / 9 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Breakfast And Happiness (Part VII)

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Who is going to be happier, the person who is grateful for being alive or the person who takes it for granted? Religion inculcates gratitude to instill obedience to the Lord, and the byproduct is contented people.

If one were to focus – merely pay attention – when making a berachah, not only would the Almighty be happy, so would the one offering the blessing. Berachos inculcate gratitude; the more you appreciate, the happier you are.

The Jew begins his day by saying: “Modeh ani l’fanecha, melech chai v’kayam… – I am grateful to be alive another day before the King…” Could there be a better way to start the day? Not everyone wakes up in the morning, and I am so happy to be among the fortunate ones.

I once brought a not-yet-religious guest we had over for Shabbos to the Neve Yerushalayim seminary for beginners. Years later she confessed that when she walked into the dining room and saw everyone talking to their food before they ate it, she thought that they were really spaced out. But now, years later – after becoming religious herself – she finds berachos her fulcrum for appreciation and subsequent happiness.

The common perception is that happiness is awaited. Accordingly, people expectantly go through their lives awaiting the event that will make them happy. “If only I find the right girl, or land the right job, I’ll be happy.” (One cannot deny that the right one is a big help and the wrong one is a big hindrance.)

The common question, “What makes you happy?” assumes that generally one is not happy; something must occur to make one happy. It would be far more productive to think au contraire. Unless something is actively impinging on your happiness, be happy. There is so much to make one happy, content, appreciative and grateful. Thus the default should be, “happy.” The alternative is being chronically unhappy.

If one were to make a list five years ago (an insight from Dennis Prager) of the things that would make you happy, chances are that most of that list has been achieved. But are you happy? In all likelihood the answer is negative, which means that there is either something wrong with your list or something wrong with your attitude.

Prager further pointed out that most people associate happiness with fun, but the words are not synonymous and the concepts vary sharply. Fun is the joy you experience during an act; happiness is the subsequent state.

In other words, the tingle on the tongue from Coca Cola is fun. But when it is over, it’s over. Likewise a roller coaster ride and a humorous video clip. These may be fun activities, but they do not make you happy.

Sometimes engaging in fun can diminish happiness. It’s fun to eat cheesecake, but once you get on the scale, you are less happy than when you ate the cake. Attending a sporting event is fun, but afterwards when you are caught in stadium traffic you are hardly happy. How much more so if the fun activity was sinful.

The reason that fun cannot provide happiness – indeed diminishes the chance of achieving happiness – is twofold. Firstly because fun is a drug, and like all drugs, you must always increase the dosage. Yesterday’s fun does not satisfy as much today, hence you must up the dosage.

It used to be fun skiing, but now you must ski slalom, or bungee jump, or attempt skydiving. The list of extreme sports is ever expanding. Horror movies of yore do not provide the same punch of terror as contemporaneous genre. Tomorrow’s films will contain even more blood, organs and severed body parts in order to raise the adrenalin level and keep you scared.

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.

One Response to “Breakfast And Happiness (Part VII)”

  1. Bailey Karr says:

    so true happy the man who is content with his lot………………….

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The Straits of Hormuz
Iran Seizes Cargo Ship Under US Protection in Strait of Hormuz
Latest Judaism Stories
“Thou shall not reap all the way to the edges of thy field.”

Putting parents before oneself is a step toward putting the more abstract concept of God before self

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In her diary, Anne Frank wrote words that provided hope for a humanity faced with suffering.

Leff-042415

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

Staum-042415

Humility is not achieved when all is well and life is peachy but rather when times are trying and challenging.

In order to be free of the negative consequences of violating a shvu’ah or a neder, the shvu’ah or neder themselves must be annulled.

“I accept the ruling,” said Mr. Broyer, “but would like to understand the reasoning.”

He feared the people would have a change of heart and support Rechavam.

Ramifications Of A Printers Error
‘The Note Holder’s Burden of Proof’
(Kesubos 83b)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

In this case one could reason that by applying halach achar harov we could permit the forbidden bird as well.

“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

Rabbi Fohrman connects the metzora purification process with the korban pesach.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Rabbi Hanoch Teller

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

Rab Elyashiv

Rav Elyashiv favored books about gedolim with 2 caveats: accuracy; and no distasteful elements

Humility often confused with low self-esteem, truly means that a person realizes his true worth

If we are certain that God is on our side, we can easily become arrogant and even cruel

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/breakfast-and-happiness-part-vii/2014/04/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: