Weekly Letter: A Higher Level of Joy

During the joyous days of Succos we share a letter of the Rebbe in which he addresses the question of how to attain a higher level of joy. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.

Mr. ________                                                             5736

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter, which reached me with some delay. The acknowledgment was further unavoidably delayed on account of the intervening festival of Pesach.

If you let me know your full Hebrew name, together with your mother’s Hebrew name, as is customary, I will remember you in prayer for the fulfillment of your heart’s desires for good.

With regard to the question as to how to attain a higher level of joy in serving G-d, in accordance with the precept, “Serve G-d with joy”1–it is well to bear in mind that all the actions of a Jew in daily life are part of such divine service, as quoted also in the Shulchan Aruch, “All your actions should be for the sake of Heaven.”2 This means that a Jew has to be in a happy spirit not only when he is directly involved in such things as prayer and the study of the Torah, but the whole time. Since G-d expects this of a Jew, it is clear that this is attainable. One way of inducing such joy and happiness is, as explained in various sources, to reflect on the extraordinary privilege that G-d has given a Jew to study His Torah and observe His mitzvot, along with the ability to spread these in his surroundings. If a human king chooses a person from a remote corner of his kingdom and tells him that it would please the king if he would carry out certain tasks, it would certainly be a source of great joy to that man. How much more so when the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, has bypassed all the angels close to Him and has chosen the Jewish people here on earth to fulfill His mitzvot in daily life.

Sometimes the lack of joy may be due to personal dissatisfaction with one’s position in regard to the fulfillment of the said Shlichut. I suggest that you look up the sections of the Tanya3 which deal with the problem, where it is pointed out that the dissatisfaction with one’s personal level or lack of perfection need not interfere with the state of satisfaction and joy with what one does observe in matters of Torah and mitzvot. As you surely know, the Tanya is also available in English translation, and is provided with an index.

I would also suggest that you have your tefillin, as well as your mezuzot, checked to make sure they are kosher, and to recite the daily quota of Tehillim as it is divided according to the days of month.

Hoping to hear good news from you all in all the above,

 

With blessing,

[Sign.]

 

 

 

  1. Psalms, 100:2.
  2. Orach Chaim, 231:1.
  3. see Tanya, Part I, ch. 31.

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