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How is it possible to be happy while struggling to do the mitzvahs and study Torah?

by Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman

  

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Jewish sources teach that we should serve God with no thought of reward. Learning Torah and doing mitzvahs should be done purely for the sake of God and to fulfill the will of our Creator. Nonetheless, the Torah in a number of places informs us that if we do follow the Torah many blessings will manifest themselves in our lives. It is explained that this is not a promise of reward, rather the natural effect and product of a Torah inspired life.

Therefore, there is something wrong with the picture if someone feels he can’t be happy because Torah is such a burden. Once, a Chassidic Rebbe who was in his elderly years was called to lift up the Torah. His students were aghast as they felt he was far too frail for such a task. To everyone’s amazement he lifted it up with great ease. His students asked him later how he was able to do it. He answered with a smile that when a person lives according to Torah, he doesn’t lift it up, rather the Torah lifts him up!

Many newly observant Jews experience a let down after the initial exuberance of living Torah wears out. Too much too fast, can easily boomerang. Others who are religious from birth “burn out” due to a lack of understanding the deeper meanings of the mitzvahs. Both scenarios are real and legitimate problems. Thus, one should be advised to take on Torah observance at a pace that feels right and natural and to seek teachers who can inspire and explain the more spiritual aspects of Torah. If there is no joy in being religious it is incumbent upon us to search deeply within and to receive outer guidance how to make a Torah life all it could be.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Philosophy » Happiness

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.