Allow me to generalize: religious Jews are very happy people, and it has nothing to do with religion. There are millions of unhappy religious people on the planet. It has nothing to do with their lifestyle – many religious Jews flirt with the poverty line. It has nothing to do with their DNA – they’re just plain people like the rest of humanity; in fact, some of the happiest religious Jews are converts, not even born Jewish. So what is it?
It’s a simple thing: their days are filled with meaningful actions – Mitzvahs. They’re always DOING something, either for G-d (ritualistic Mitzvahs, like Shabbat or Tefillin or Kosher) or for their fellow man (“good deed” Mitzvahs, like Charity).
That’s what’s amazing about life in this world. There are so many opportunities to accomplish great things. And when this attitude becomes your modus operandi, you grab those opportunities and your life becomes filled with happiness.
In fact, the emotional pull of a Mitzvah is so strong, it reaches far beyond the confines of the physical realm of this world.
On the occasion of his Rebbetzin’s first Yahrtzeit – the 30th yahrtzeit being commemorated this week – the Rebbe opened up the book of Maimonides and taught us the mystical twist on a short Talmudic statement regarding the Laws of Work on Shabbat:
“One is liable for having done ‘work’ when igniting even a tiny substance into flame – so long as there is a necessity in the resulting ash (for ink or the like).”
The Rebbe taught: Our loved ones who find themselves in the next world are in a state of “flame” – in a totally spiritual realm, rising ever higher and further away from the crass, mundane world in which we’ve been left behind. Yet, even from their lofty perch in the heavens, they find deep “necessity” and meaningfulness in physical “results”, through good deeds that are done in their memory down here in this world – through action!
If a Mitzvah can make a soul happy even in the highest realms of heaven, it’s no wonder how happy it makes people down here.
Have you done a Mitzvah today?