web analytics
July 10, 2014 / 12 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim's Restaurant in Tiberias Restaurant in Tiberias Enriches Holocaust Survivors’ Wellbeing

The generosity of Mrs. Lee Steinberg of New York helped establish the Meir Panim Free Restaurant in Tiberias.



Why Aren’t Americans Happy?

Friedman-030912

The real question is “What is happiness?” We seem to be a very unhappy generation. Even when we say “This makes me happy”, “I am happy”, “I would be happy if you would do this”, “I will be happy to do that”, do we really mean happiness? Do we even know what happiness feels like?

Happiness comes from gratitude – something in life that demands gratitude would usually make us happy – which in essence makes the question “Where has the gratitude gone?” True gratitude can only come from being unburdened. The weight of being burdened doesn’t allow us to feel gratitude. So what is it that’s burdening us? We are carrying the weight of ourselves, of taking ourselves too seriously. Once we let go, it becomes possible to get in touch with those feelings of gratitude and happiness.

Now, why do we take ourselves so seriously?

Do I deserve?

By the way, the need to speak about happiness means that we’re not happy. If we were really happy we wouldn’t be talking about it. We would just be happy.

One of the reasons we take ourselves so seriously is deservedness. We are told, taught and constantly reminded that we deserve, that we are deserving. Where does this come from? Now, it is a virtue to think of others as deserving. When you see someone suffering you think “No! They deserve better than that”. But I’m not even sure what that means. You wish better for them but deservedness is really an unnatural and unhealthy concept.

In truth it’s not really a natural fact of life. In actuality we are given a hundred years of life for free. We are certainly not born deserving, yet God gives us life. Consequently we are indebted just by being born. However, we are also given a mission and a purpose. Acknowledging that fact gives us the right to ask God to provide us with the proper conditions to fulfill our job. But deservedness has got to go.

God is Good.

So the first thing that drains our happiness is this feeling of I deserve. Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t expect God to give us good things, great success and His great blessings. We certainly do expect it because God is generous and good and He has given us everything until now for free, so He will certainly continue to do so.

The problem starts when we have that feeling of entitlement, a feeling that we deserve. Because this feeling is too self-aware and too judgmental. Once we start trying to figure out “Am I getting as much as I deserve”, “Am I getting less than I deserve”, it becomes burdensome; and if “I’m getting more than I deserve”, that can be worrisome too. So the whole subject is really not worth getting into.

We don’t deserve, but we get because God is good.

Don’t Be Too Attached to the Physical.

One of the first tests that God put the Jews through when they left Egypt was asking them to follow Him in to a desert without giving them a chance to prepare food. The virtue that was tested was the ability to do without, to take our physical existence a little less serious. If we have physical comforts, great, if we don’t have – that’s fine too. He was looking for a sense of indifference, the ability to rise above and transcend the petty needs of the physical.

Unfortunately we are so attached to our physical needs that we have no time to be happy. Things have to be just perfect: the food has to be just so, the temperature has to be just right, we must have enough sleep, a second cup of coffee etc. We can’t function without them. We need to transcend some of that in order to be happy. So, to paraphrase, we need to focus on what we’re here for, and not what were here after.

Our Purpose.

Another thing destroying our happiness is doubt. When we’re not sure, when we are not certain, we can’t proceed with confidence and that takes away our joy.

We’re uncertain about so many things, and the list keeps growing. We’re not even sure if we belong on this planet or not. Are human beings welcome as part of nature? Or are we polluters just messing up the beauty of nature with our very presence?

So why are we here? We must have a particular purpose, a particular function that justifies our presence on this earth.

Not being certain as to what our identity is and what our purpose is, again, drains us of all enthusiasm and joy.

So we need to know clearly what we are here for.

Shame, Regret, Guilt.

The final culprit draining the happiness out of our lives is guilt. We don’t know what to do with it; we don’t know how to handle it.

About the Author: To meet Rabbi Friedman and to inquire about training visit Rabbimanisfriedman.org


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.

No Responses to “Why Aren’t Americans Happy?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
First Person Shooter Zikim Navy
First Person Shooter View of Kibbutz Zikim Infiltration (video)
Latest Sections Stories
Baseball-Insider

Zimmer was popular with veteran teammates like Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider – and with a rookie lefthander named Sandy Koufax.

book-end-the-madness

Of course it is disingenuous to tell a person from a non-rabbinic, non-rosh yeshiva home to make an effort.

Israel’s coastline may be short, but there are still some real estate pearls waiting to be realized, offering cheap alternatives for sea front living. All you have to do is go further from the boundaries of Tel-Aviv and the Dan Block.

Explosive children or those with ODD are easily frustrated, demanding and inflexible.

Glob on the sunscreen, break out the darkest chocolate you can find and let the sun shine in!

Synagogue ritual art is also abundant but for various reasons not usually collected.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

In my experience, modern schools tend to be more open-minded toward other flavors of Judaism.

Green was an American volunteer in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, but something happened In Israel that has haunted him ever since.

In this book, lovingly and admiringly written by Harry’s wife Marion, his partner in all his endeavors, the reader is granted a ringside seat to every detail in how this project was conceived and carried to fruition.

The author begins by distinguishing between what he calls inner/sacred technology and external/profane technology.

It is often quite easy to get into a situation. When the situation gets sticky, it is often really hard to get out.

The event included a hands-on challah baking, a candlestick-making workshop, and discussions of the uniqueness of the Jewish woman.

More Articles from Rabbi Manis Friedman
Friedman-060812

If you ask someone coming out of church on a Sunday, “Do you believe in G-d?” the worshipper will be shocked.

“What type of question is that? Of course I do!”

Friedman-030912

The real question is “What is happiness?” We seem to be a very unhappy generation. Even when we say “This makes me happy”, “I am happy”, “I would be happy if you would do this”, “I will be happy to do that”, do we really mean happiness? Do we even know what happiness feels like?

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/why-arent-americans-happy/2012/03/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: