The coronavirus has affected our mood. We have to admit that most of us are less happy and more worried than usual.
The word “happy” (or “joy”) appears seven times in this week’s parshah. When we examine these occurrences, we discover that happiness invariably comes when we give to others or share what we have with them. Here are two passages that illustrate this point:
1) “And you shall rejoice in your festival – you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow who are within your cities.”
2) “You, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, and the Levite who is in your cities – you shall rejoice before the Lord, your G-d, in all your endeavors.”
Happiness appears in the presence of the family, the servant, the widow, the stranger, the orphan, and the poor. Happiness comes when we leave the “I” and enter the “We.” There is giving and no taking.
The parasha shows us a fascinating and unexpected path towards finding happiness. It’s a revolutionary kind of happiness that depends, not on our own accomplishments, but on our concern for others.