Volume 2 Number 40 – October 19, 2019 – 20 Tishrei 5780
Mark Your Calendars
- The Women of Aish JWRP present and evening with Slovie Jungreis Wolff – Monday, October 28, 2019 at 7:30-(:30 pm at AUSH Firehouse
- Next Book Club book: “Waking Lions,” by Israeli writer Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. Wednesday, October 30th, 7:15-8:45 PM hosted and facilitated by Sandy Greenberg.
How can we find and hold onto joy in this world without it slipping away? The holiday of Simchat Torah provides an answer. As we dance with the Torah, we bask in the unique, eternal happiness that only Torah can bring into our lives.
“It is a tree of life for those who grasp it” – (Proverbs 3:18)
Here are five ways that Torah brings us this lasting joy and life.
1. It gives us higher goals. The highest predictor of a person’s lasting happiness is a goal that transcends himself. All of our personal goals, however important they may be, are part of a greater mission that all Jews share – to bring light to the world, to honor G-d’s Name, to pass on our sacred traditions. The Torah gives us higher goals to strive for.
2. It shows us how to be grateful. Most people understand why gratitude increases our happiness levels, but we don’t necessarily know how to feel grateful on a daily basis. The Torah shows us how to be grateful several times each day. With prayer three times a day, with blessings over food and mitzvot. It imbues within us a constant awareness that we are receiving goodness and kindness from the Source of all life from the moment we open our eyes in the morning.
3. It teaches us hope. Life is hard and often unpredictable. Many of us have different challenges that make it difficult to see a way forward. But the Torah teaches us that nothing is impossible. That G-d never gives us circumstances that we can’t handle. That tomorrow will be brighter. That redemption is in our future. That we are not struggling in vain.
4. It connects us. In a world where so many are lonely and dependent upon virtual company, the Torah pulls us each out of our isolation. It shows us how to set up communities and bring people together. It teaches us that we need each other. It helps us give even when we’re not sure how. It connects grandparents to their grandchildren. It bridges the cultural gaps that so often divide us. It gives us a common language and a shared truth. It connects us to each other.
5. It gives us flow. Our happiest moments occur when we are in the “flow,” completely engaged and absorbed by an activity we are doing. We transcend our physical and emotional limitations by immersing ourselves in the energy of the moment. Torah gives us this sense of flow when we are doing a mitzvah that is challenging for us but within our grasps. We visit the sick even when hospitals make us nervous. We invite the widow from across the street to Shabbos dinner even though we aren’t in the mood for guests. We give tzedakah even though we are anxious about our finances. We choose to overcome a limitation inside of us and move forward even when we have to push ourselves to do so. – Excerpted from Sara Debbie Gutfreund, www.aish.com