Wednesday, October 05, 2022

In this week’s parsha of Ki Savo, we begin by noting a peculiar commandment. We read in Chapter 26, verse 11, that we need to be happy and appreciate all good things in life that God has bestowed upon us. Specifically, the verse begins: “You shall rejoice with all the goodness that Hashem, your God, has given you and your household.”

Is being in a state of “simcha” (joyfulness) just good advice? How important is it to actively pursue being in a state of simcha? To answer that question, one can look at the end of the “tochacha,” where the verse tells us that 98 terrible curses will come “as the result of not having served the Lord, your God, with simcha and with good spirit.” Apparently, this is a very important mitzvah.

We read in chapter 28, verse two that if we follow the commandments and live a righteous lifestyle, God will bestow all sorts of blessings upon us. We will be blessed in the city and blessed in the fields. Our children, our homes, our crops and our work will be blessed. We will be blessed when we come in and blessed when we leave. Our enemies will flee before us. Our livelihoods will be blessed. In fact, Hashem promises to bless every undertaking that we attempt. Not only that, but the verse promises that the blessings will overtake you. They will chase after you. The Seforno comments that God will be so gracious to you that you will be overtaken by blessings, even when you make no effort on your own to obtain them.

When we start out in life, we have various goals and objectives that we look forward to. We typically start by looking for a good mate to share our lives with. We hope to complete our education and get a good job. Later, we look forward to raising a family and living in our own homes, watching our giant high definition TV’s and driving the latest model cars. We wish for good health and peace of mind. It is ironic — therefore — that in these modern times, when many of our goals are actually being met, we live with so much anxiety and depression and we forget to be happy. Many of us have accomplished so much and met so many goals. Yet, we have never felt more stress and pressure to keep “peddling” as fast as we can. We have to be reminded to see the glass half-full and not just dwell on the other empty half.

The Torah verse anticipated that such feelings might enter into people’s minds and might adversely affect their quality of life.

That is why we need a commandment that specifically tells us that when we accomplish so much and reach many of our goals in life, we should not forget to look at how far we have come and fail to be appreciative. As such, we are formally commanded to rejoice with all the goodness Hashem has given us and our household.

In the merit of all the good we have accomplished and the goals we have fulfilled in life, as we approach Rosh Hashanah and the start of a new year, may Hashem continue to bless us at home, at work and with our families. May He keep us healthy and provide us with peace of mind. May the blessings overtake us and find us wherever we may be.

Rabbi Dr. Avi Kuperberg is a forensic, clinical psychologist and a member of the American Psychology-Law Society. He is acting president of the Chai Riders Motorcycle Club of NY/NJ. He is the coordinator of Bikur Cholim/Chesed at Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton, Florida. He can be reached at [email protected]

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