By Rabbi Raymond Beyda
What yardstick should one use to measure happiness is an age-old question
that has puzzled Sages and philosophers for millennia. In Pirke Abot Ben
Zoma says, "Who is wealthy? The one who is satisfied with his lot". He
was certainly referring to the fact that if one could be happy with what
one has then one is far richer than others who might have much more net
worth yet always seek more of what they see others possess. When looking
at others material status they usually see all the extra good that others
In the realm of the spiritual, the dictum of Ben Zoma, being satisfied
with one's status, works against the achievement of true happiness. When
one is satisfied even with a bad situation then one does nothing to change
for the better. It was probably someone who was terribly unhappy with
waiting on line at the bank who invented the automatic teller machine. I
can't prove it but I can propose that someone who got pushed and shoved
and was delayed arriving at his destination invented the revolving door to
increase the traffic flow in a busy entranceway. In the world of business
and in the realm of self-improvement dissatisfaction can make one wealthy.
The trick is to resolve to face the problem and find a better way to deal
with the annoying situation--one that will yield an improvement.
Should you fall into an emotional rut or perhaps something that always
bothers you strikes again don’t just accept it. Find a way to do what has
to be done in a more efficient or more satisfying manner. It might take a
while but the dissatisfaction, when looked at with a creative eye, will
lead to innovation and success.
DID YOU KNOW THAT
One should be careful not to eat food or drink after waking up in the
morning before one does the ritual washing called Netillat Yadayim. Even
small children should not touch foodstuffs before their hands have been
washed. The Rabbis instituted the morning washing so as to avoid
spiritually contaminating food or putting a "ruah ra-ah" bad spirit on the
food. [SourceYalkut Yosef, Vol. 1, Siman1: 5]
CONSIDER THIS FOR A MINUTE
During the weeks that follow the High Holy days, the time is ripe for
fixing the sins related to immorality, promiscuity and perversions.. The
Sefer Seder Hayom says," one who repeats sins that cause a flaw in the
moral purity of the person carries a sin that is too large to bear. These
sins bring Heaven's wrath down to earth in the form of disease and death.
The punishments are more severe if the sinner was brazen enough to engage
in immoral behavior in the view of others creating a desecration of G-d's
name -- hillul Hashem. How can one who has engaged in these horrible deeds
with such disastrous ramifications lift his head in front of others? How
can he smile or Laugh?
NOTE: When the Jewish people live in exile amongst host nations who
hold of the Torah's moral values many engage in behavior that our Torah
considers abominable yet they do feel the shame or the guilt that the sins
should evoke because society at large accepts promiscuity. It is important
during these holy weeks following our Days of Awe to learn the great
works of Mussar that teach one the seriousness of such anti-Torah behavior
and teach one how to repent and atone for this type of transgression here
in this world in order to avoid the serious punishments that these sins
carry in the next world.
Raymond J Beyda
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.