Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Moscow, Russia Friday, February 26th Light Candles at 17:37 Shabbat, February 27th, Shabbat Ends 18:53 Torah Portion: Ki Tisa

Don't Worry. Be Happy. Remember that expression? It sounds a bit simplistic. We all have real problems and stresses, so why should we accept a blanket “don’t worry”? Why shouldn't we? Are we supposed to detach ourselves from reality, fooling ourselves into thinking real issues don’t exist? King Solomon, in his Book of Proverbs (Mishlei 15:15), advises us that “one with a good heart is always rejoicing.” What does that mean in practical terms? The Talmud explains that when you develop a broad perspective of life you become happier, because your worries don’t own you. What qualifies as a broad perspective? Everyone has problems. Everyone also has blessings. If you’re reading this, you’re obviously alive and have some level of eyesight and cognition. And I’ll guess that your blessings don’t stop there. At the same time, human nature is such that regular blessings often become part of life’s woodwork. They’re barely noticed and thus remain un-celebrated. A broad perspective of life is one that consciously takes in your TRUE reality, including your everyday blessings. It’s a genuine snapshot of your life because it includes all the variables, not just the problems. And that breadth of vision makes a huge difference. When you're faced with a problem, it can take up your entire visual field. It feels like your challenge is the only thing in your life, because it psychologically eclipses everything else. If a problem is an elephant taking up all the room in your life, how can you not worry? But what if you see your life as a mosaic of blessings and stresses? What if you feel the gratitude and joy of your blessings and see your stresses in their accurate context? The problems are less likely to own you, because you recognize that they’re just a [small] piece of your life; they don’t deserve your entire attention. The recognition of our blessing gives us more emotional bandwidth, enabling us to better absorb – and address – our problems. And it makes for happier people. People who happen to have problems. A Jewish leap year (like the present year), has an extra month. There are two months of Adar, and we're presently in Adar 1. Jewish tradition teaches that Adar is the happiest month(s) of the year, a time when we're best positioned for a happy attitude. But it takes internal re-positioning. Think broadly. Be Happy. Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Yanky Klein

This email is In Loving memory of my dear father R' Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM