Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We are constantly in search of happiness, and we try in various ways to find the exact recipe for true happiness.

I recently visited my son and family who live in the United States. As I strolled the familiar streets I knew as a child growing up and saw the beautiful home my son has set up for himself and his family, a warm feeling of happiness filled my heart.


Life in America is quite different than the life I live in Israel. As I was leaving Israel the Covid restrictions hit me at every corner that I turned. As I landed in the U.S., the rules and regulations seemed to have changed to: ‘live, and let live.”

It is written that the land of Israel is bought through anguish and hardship. And it’s written about America that this is the land of the free and home of the brave; of opportunity, and of dreams.

Freedom, opportunity and dreams, I can definitely relate to those words in regards to the U.S. I can understand why so many Jews live in the U.S. The abundance of materialism, the free choice in the way of life one chooses to live, the income one can make here and just about any comfort one can think of, is available in America at the touch of a finger.

Is all that comfort called happiness?

Having a good income and living a very comfortable life is obviously nice and I wish it upon each and every one of the Jews in the world. Is comfort happiness? Is having a good income happiness?

I believe that happiness is what we decide it should be.

One can be rich and famous and not be happy and one can be poor and without much support, and yet be filled with happiness.

I realize that without money it can be very challenging to find that inner happiness, since the people who are struggling hard to put food on their table are constantly worried where their next meal will come from.

The Torah life and the wealth in the U.S. are all in a comfort zone. Which means that both are easily attainable. This fact makes wanting to live in the chosen land of Israel not so inviting, and people seem quite happy where they live, and are not in a rush to move so fast to Israel. Everything seems to be so difficult in general in Israel, and specifically with all the restrictions of Corona. So, what is it that we should be looking for? Happiness? Purpose? Quiet? No worries?

All this relates very clearly to the Jews walking through the desert for all those years.

The Jews received the Torah, had all their needs met with all the miracles that Hashem performed for them during their travels throughout the 40 years in the desert.

This indeed is one of the reasons the Jews were so worried about entering the land of Israel after all the time spent in the desert. They weren’t sure how they would able to worship Hashem if they had to also worry about how to sustain their families.

And Hashem told the people of Israel not to worry since He would always care for them.

Sometimes when things are going very well, we think that we are in control and that anything we want or do is in our hands. If we have money this thought is increased several times over.

However, what happens in the land of Israel is different from the whole world since that is the land which Hashem calls His home.

Therefore, the soldiers who work and worship the King closest to the throne, have to be much more alert and connected to their King since they are right there in G-d’s palace at all times.

In Judaism, our appearance physically is obviously important, however our inner sense of being is of even greater regard.

Life in Israel is challenging and finding happiness at times is hard, with all the troubles that occur almost every day.

A person who is constantly met with challenges, can’t withstand it on their own and they are always seeking help. Which means in Israel there isn’t a day that passes that the Jews don’t lift their heads and hands to the heavens and ask G-d for His help.

In Israel Hashem doesn’t give anything so easily, since He constantly wants to hear from us. Just like a small child that cannot do anything without his parents.

Hashem wants our soul to grow, He wants our connection to Him to grow, He wants us to need Him by calling Him from our pain and frustration; to always know that only a true connection to Hashem brings true happiness.

A hug from a parent is stronger than any money in the world.

When we are very comfortable, we don’t really need anyone. Hashem stays in the shul and in the holy Torah, but when does He really reach our hearts and souls?

I wish for all my brothers and sisters to always have abundance and wealth, and a lot of happiness, and I wish them all, to do so in the land of Israel close to Hashem.

If all the Jews will return home, true happiness will surely reign over us all.

Every parent wants his children to be right next to them. Every parent wants to help their children, no matter how old they are. And Hashem is the father of us all.

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Michal can be reached at [email protected]