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A Dvar Torah for Ki Teitzei

Our Dvar Torah: Make Every Effort To Be Happy!
A Dvar Torah for Ki Teitzei: Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © August 28, 2020

Does it seem odd that this week's parsha focuses so much law and legal mandates when this is the Fifth Shabbat of Consolation? After all, seventy-four of the 613 commandments or mitzvot are in found in this weeks parsha! Is this consolation? YES! Because Torah is our life and the length of our days as stated clearly at Deuteronomy 30:20. When we choose to Love and obey HaShem we are blessed in all ways. HaShem charges us to:

To love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him. For that is your life and the length of your days, to dwell on the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give to them.

How blessed we are to have the Torah! The nations wander in ignorance seeking to unlock some meaning in life but we have it! Those who love HaShem are not wandering in darkness nor uncertainty. We have received the Light! Our situation is not to determine the Light, but whether or not we will walk in it! And if we would only choose do this, to walk Derech HaShem, the way of G-d, Mashiach ben David would be revealed and the world would gradually yet quickly be transformed into it original purpose! We would inherit the global Gan Eden and we would never die! May this be our reality!

To this end our Rebbe tells us:

“And the rule is that we need to make every effort, with every drop of our strength, to always be in a state of happiness, because it’s human nature for a person to be attracted to bitter blackness, depression, and sadness, because of all his flaws and past actions. And every person is full of suffering and difficulties, so he needs to force himself, using all of his strength, to always be happy.” – Likutey Moharan, Part II, Lesson 24.

How can one be happy in this world, even when things are so difficult? In a word EMUNAH! Choose to cultivate and maintain active, motivating FAITH in HaShem! BITACHON or TRUST in HaShem knowing that we are a miracle!

Like the word emunah, usually translated as “faith” Bitachon can not be fully translated by a single word. It means “trust,” but it also speaks of unshakable confidence and even of security! One who clings to HaShem with emunah and bitachon WILL be happy and will actualize the Miracle of Jewish existence!

Why? Because if we are motivated through the power of emunah to develop and maintain bitachon, trust and confidence in the Beloved, the Source and Controller of everything, then we will know, not just believe, but know G-d and be confident that HaShem is in full control! He is our eternal well wisher! This being the case one KNOWS that he/she is completely secure in every situation!

Perhaps our seemingly undesirable situations are upon us because we have erred in our choices. Baruch HaShem! He is correcting our errors! Perhaps they are upon us due to natural law. Baruch HaShem! He is the One who established those laws and through them our souls are being rectified and purified! Perhaps a loved one has passed or is the process of passing from this mortal coil. Of course we lament! But with emunah and bitachon we realize that neither we nor our loved one are these bodies! From the instance that HaShem called us into being we became His eternal children, sparks of His never-ended Love. While the Beloved is beyond all comprehension, He has revealed His nature as our Divine Parent. As the perfect Parent he will NEVER abandon His children! Our souls – who we really are – never even taste death! We merely exchange one body for another as a person changes soiled clothing for clean attire.

IF we KNOW this is the case though our emunah and bitachon how can we not be happy?

As the holy rabbi of our honored Rabbi Shalom Arush has explained:

Happiness saves us from all our sins! By way of happiness, we merit every healing and cure! By way of happiness, we merit to have every salvation!… By way of happiness, we can wipe out Amalek! And erase all of our sins! By way of happiness, we can escape from every sin in the whole world.

We need to be very careful to always be happy, because the second that there’s some sadness because we did a sin, or because we’re worrying about making a living, then a person can very easily fall into an even bigger transgression. Because of his sadness, because of his worry, he can fall into much bigger sins.

There are people who enjoy feeling sad more than anything else, they spend their whole life feeling sad. If you try to cheer them up, even a little bit, you just annoy them. They never felt the taste of true happiness their whole life.

As Rebbe Nachman advises at Sichot Haran #74:

Even if you are upset and unhappy, you can at least put on a happy front. At first you may not feel genuinely happy in your heart. Even so, if you act happy you will eventually attain true happiness and joy.

And again our Rebbe explains at Likutey Moharan II, 10

The main reason why people are far from God is because their minds are not settled and they do not pause to consider the purpose of their existence. But when a person is happy, his mind becomes settled and he is able to understand things clearly. Someone who is anxious and depressed finds it impossible to direct his thoughts where he wants. It is hard for him to calm and settle his mind. Only when a person is happy can he direct his thoughts wherever he wants and settle his mind.

Joy is the world of freedom - "for you shall go out with joy " (Isaiah 55:12) . Through joy we become free and leave our exile. When a person maintains a happy, joyous attitude, his mind and thoughts become free and he is no longer in exile. He can then direct his thoughts as he wants and settle his mind so as to focus on his goal and draw close to God.

ON THE OTHER HAND emunah and bitachon must be established on truth. Otherwise its like the proverb of the person who built a glorious palace on sand. When the winds and the current shifted the house fell down as it lacked a solid foundation. TORAH is the only foundation. Faith without Torah is blind faith and blind faith is worse than no faith! Our emunah is in HaShem alone.

Study His Torah! And to understand Torah, to know how to apply it one's life, our Rebbe said the following:

My book Likutey Moharan is the beginning of the Redemption. Now that it has come out, I very much want people to study it. They should study it until they know it by heart, because it is filled with guidance and has the power to arouse men to God in a way nothing else can compare with. Those who study it carefully have no need for any other work on ethics and moral guidance.

Learning my works is the beginning of the Redemption - may it come speedily in our days. The best way to study them is with two separate routines. The first should be one of brisk study in order to become thoroughly conversant with them. The second should be one of in-depth study, because these works contain the profoundest depths.
Chayey Moharan #346

Read Likutey Moharan, Part II, Lesson 24

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