IVDU ET HASHEM B'SIMCHAAAAAA. Why is that so important?
Rabbi Jonathan Rietti explains:
In Parashat Bechukotai, 98 curses are mentioned.
there's a commandment of serving HaShem b'simcha (well, rather, it's a consequence if one doesn't serve HaShem b'simcha.) Basically, curses can come upon a person for not being jubilent! That means that if one fulfills a mitzvah, fully with all the little details and knows all of the halachot and sources and everythinggggg...but he doesn't fulfill that mitzvah with JOY - then his mitzvah is LACKING.
Happiness is a choice. The Arizal said that the word "b'simcha" has the same letters as "machshava"-- happiness is NOT what happens to me. Happiness is an attitude; happiness is in my thoughts...I CHOOSE whether be happy. Happiness is not dependent my health; my wealth; my bashert...all of that can help me be happIER, but those attributes don't define my happiness. My happiness is not reliant on what happens to me.
How does a person fill his mind with happy thoughts? By recognizing the GOOD in life. Think of your mind like a house or room -- which painting will you hang up? A dark one? A pretty one? One that is filled w/ images of Torah & mitzvot?
There is definitely good in life; G-d said the world is tov MEOD...not just good, but VERY good. When a person is happy because he is focusing on the good in life, he is not denial of what is horrible in life. Rather, by focusing on the good and loving life, he is living in reality and able to deal with tragedies. Focusing just on the negative is NOT living in reality.
I recently heard a wonderful shiur about how true joy is being connected to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. So, when Chazal tell us t
We recently experienced the period of ben hametzarim (the 3 weeks of mourning). Chazal teach us that the Divine Presence doesn't dwell on one who is depressed or unhappy. Even during those times of mourning, one must be joyful! He always must be happy, but especially when learning Torah, fulfilling mitzvot, etc.
This is especially something to keep in mind and practice during Elul. Yes, we should be reflecting on our deeds and doing teshuva, but ideally -- it should be done out of love and simcha. Chazal tell us that the happiest days are Yom Kippur and Tu b'Av.
That's part of the reason why sefardim have such upbeat, happy tunes to their selichot - because we're happy to be doing teshuva and be forgiven!
If we do our mission in the world with sincere simcha, our mitzvot will be fulfilled COMPLETELY, and b"H we will be zoche to Mashiach Tzidkenu and the Beit HaMikdash B'mehera B'yameinu.