I used to think that Las Vegas was the ultimate place for pleasure. I used to stay with a buddy of mine in one of the fancy casinos whenever I traveled there for business. We had this amazing two-story suite with the best views in Vegas, front row tickets to any show and a limousine on call 24 hours a day.
Why did we get treated that way? Because my buddy used to gamble a lot of money. It’s was common for him to be gambling thousands of dollars a hand in blackjack and the casinos know that the more you bet, the more you are going to lose. It’s a mathematical certainty.
Now, when you’re playing black jack, what is the one card you want dealt to you? It’s an ace. Why? Because an ace will bring you choices and in life and we always want choices. The choice you have to make: is Las Vegas the only place where you can get these amazing pleasures? Or do you want to know and learn about other pleasures that are even greater.
I am going to use the acronym ACE to teach you how to get the most pleasure out of life. You want to live your life with the most awesome ATTITUDE. But in order to have that awesome attitude, you need to be CONNECTED to something spiritually higher and the best way to get that connection is when you surround yourself in the right ENVIRONMENT, where that environment is guided not by the whims of society, but by something that is deeper, has more meaning and has lasted the test of time.
How do you live your life with an awesome attitude? Because the more positive attitude you have, the more pleasure you will get. God will put certain situations in front of us and it’s our choice how we look at it. A simple example is when it rains. You might look at it as “thank God” we needed the rain now my yard will get water. But maybe you will be upset because it’s your only day off and you have to cancel your golf game.
So how does one live their life looking at everything positively and have an awesome attitude? There is a famous saying in Judaism,”gam zu latova.” Everything that God does is for the best. When you live your life knowing and understanding that everything happens is for a purpose, you will start to live with that awesome attitude. But to have this awesome attitude you need a connection.
In the oral law of our Torah, there is a statement that says “for there is no person for you that there is no hour for him.” In other words, you can’t have a connection with someone if you can’t find time for them. The Torah teaches us that when we feed our relationships with the scraps of time we find left over from our busy lives, we starve those relationships and they grow distant from us, and then, we lose that connection. This includes our family, and friends and God himself.
The expression that there are no atheists in a foxhole means everyone is looking for a connection to God when things aren’t going well. Don’t ignore God until you need him just like ignoring your spouse or children until your relationships are falling apart is not the right way to live your life. But to be connected to God, you have to surround yourself with the right environment. Living in a community where the focus is on God, mitzvas, and character growth is your greatest chance for having this connection because where we live has an effect on who we are.
Living it up in a suite in Las Vegas will always be a pleasure for me, but knowing that I have a choice in life and using my ace to choose a connection to God? That will always be my ultimate pleasure. Live a life of pleasure and get fired up!