Temporary escape...or redemption?

So many of our youth are confused (actually not only youth….many mature adults as well). WE are in a very deep galus, a very dark spiritual situation where people are looking for happiness from external sources. People are not happy deep inside. People have lost that enthusiasm and simcha that chassidim have always had. Why is that?
I think mostly because we are still in galut, exile!   Jews have had enough of galut. We need redemption.


So what does it mean when we say Pesach is the season of our freedom: zman cheruteinu?  Of course we commemorate leaving Egypt and becoming a free nation. But we know that every Jewish holiday is not just about commemorating the past. Each holiday is applicable on a spiritual level even today.
So what is true freedom?
Each and every one of us has limitations and things that prevent us from serving Hashem with true joy. We have various problems, whether spiritual, material or even within our own personalities. 


​How do we increase in simcha just because adar enters?
The strange thing is that when adar enters, very often we find ourselves challenged by difficult situations, depression, sadness, worry and many problems. Because this is the month where we need to get rid of Amalek. And that requires a fight, a battle. It is a battle against apathy, impurity, negativity: those things that affect our service of Hashem with happiness.
So how do we win that battle? By increasing in happiness. Even if we don’t feel like being happy.


This is a generation where we are very hung up on not depriving our kids of anything.
The friend has a cell phone, our child must have one.
The neighbors daughter is going on birthright, our daughter must go. G-d forbid she should feel left out or deprived.
The cousin has the latest gadget, our son must have it too.
One thing no Jewish parent wants to be “accused “ of by our children is depriving them of what they feel entitled to have.
But is this a proper mentality?
Let’s analyze the results of this mentality.

Exile now and then....

As we learn this weeks Torah portion (and actually the previous portion and the next one as well), we see how much the Jewish people suffered in Egypt and how Moshe, the Redeemer, announced the redemption but then he had to leave Egypt only to return many years later.....but the Jews never despaired of being redeemed even though it certainly could have brought doubt to their minds. 


CHANUKAH....it is all about light. The neshomah is all about light.
But what is it about the chanukah menorah that draws a Jew so strongly? 
We light in total 36 candles over the eight days of Chanukah.
Inside those lights is hidden the light that Hashem created and hid during the first six days of Creation. A light so powerful that it will only be revealed when Moshiach arrives. A  light that explains the suffering all the Jewish people have endured throughout galus.
And that light is what draws every Jewish soul.


This is a syndrome affecting much of our generation.
Many people stand in between, not sure how to look at things, not sure how to relate to many issues facing society.
In the past things were clear:  good was good, right was right, wrong was wrong and evil was evil.
Now things have become blurred. People question what was once clear to everyone. morality is no longer so clear.
People cross red lines. People mix together things and try to make permissible what is clearly forbidden by Torah. 


Well, here we go again: rejoicing. It is all about happiness.  We have many holidays that have a theme of happiness to them: Purim, Pesach, Shavuot, and even Chanukah all celebrate events that lead to great happiness. But on the holiday of Succot we don’t have an event we are celebrating in particular. We are actually celebrating joy itself. Pure, unadulterated joy. True simcha.
When joy is accompanied by an event leading to that joy it is limited to some degree.
But when joy is celebrated just for the sake of the joy itself, it is limitless.


Thanking Hashem for what you have…and what you don’t have.
Jews are always thanking Hashem. We wake up every morning and the first words we utter are modeh ani, thanking Hashem for restoring our souls to us after our sleep.
So we do have this awareness that we need to thank G-d constantly for all the blessings we have, big or small. Just waking up in the morning is a blessing to be thankful for. Just having our own soul restored to us is a blessing, a kindness.   


Why is happiness so difficult to achieve?  We certainly have all heard the advice: focus on the good and on the blessings you have and you will become happy.  That definitely has a profound lesson in it: we do need to focus on our blessings, to acknowledge the good, feel gratitude and be happy. But is that the entire solution?
I see so many people who do appreciate the good they have….but they cannot get past the emotional downs they experience from various problems they may have.

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