Updated: Jun 22, 2022
Most people in the world believe in God. That’s something as basic as breathing and, in fact, anyone can come to this conclusion either through reasoning or feelings. That’s, without a doubt, one of the levels of Emunah. However, many of our holy Rabbis also teach the second step of Emunah: Believing in yourself!
Yes, this might sound silly or unimportant, but it’s nonetheless an essential step to unlocking your true potential and bringing the salvation we want. The first step (or, should we say second?) to acquiring the power to change reality is to be believe in yourself.
The holy Sefat Emet, Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leibfrom Gur teaches that the Yetzer HaRah (evil inclination) works hard to make a person feel like he’s away from Hashem and that he’s unimportant. This is a very bad thing! Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen MiLublin adds that without thinking your actions are important, it’s impossible to reach any real spiritual level.
You are a holy, important, powerful, intelligent and dear creation of Hashem, no matter what other people think. The fact you are here in the world is proof in and of itself Hashem wants you here and has a special plan just for you.
What is happiness in Kabbalah?
Rav Chaim Vital in Sha’arei Kedusha writes that one of the pre-conditions for a person to achieve transcendence is an overwhelming happiness over one’s lot in life. This is a really difficult thing to achieve, but one that is necessary nonetheless. We’ve seen in previous articles how Hashem is good to all His Creatures, no matter what situation they are put in. Being happy is therefore a state of completion in mind, that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
There’s a deeper secret behind. In Hebrew, the word for complete, whole, and peace all stem from thesame root “Shalem” (שלם) which has the numerical value of 370 as the Zohar teaches. These are the 370 lights that emanate from the highest Sephirah of Keter(“crown), which encompasses all the others. It turns out that the full expression of happiness is also a manifestation of Keter and in fact an incredible source of power. The lesson is very poignant: only one who is happy (also with his portion) can be complete and at peace.
As an aside, this number 370 can divided into two times 185, which is the numerical value of the name of Hashem אל written in the milui (extensive form) אלף למד while at the same time indicating lovingkindness.This can also be interpreted to mean that one can only be happy if he knows his self worth and is kind to himself!
Happiness From Chassidic Sources
King Solomon already taught us from Mishlei that there’s a time to be happy and a time to be sad. Certain times of the year we need to repent and mourn, like on Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), during the Tachanumconfession prayer or after Chatzot (Midnight) to mourn for the exile.
However, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer already stated on Tzava’at HaRivash (The Will of The Ba’al Shem Tov) that a prayer that is joyful is much better appreciated and received than one based on sadness. Though there’s tremendous value in praying with tears, ideally a person should shed tears of joy and longing for Hashem. This is comparable to a servant who comes, praises the king and then makes his request, instead of someone who only thinks about himself and only asks for what they want. In this vein he also adds that expecting salvation is already half way through.
Rebbe Nachman writes extensively in his work that happiness is a key that opens many doors. A person should make himself happy by any means necessary, even if it means telling silly jokes to himself or dancing alone. Sadness, as Rav Chaim Vital is one of the traits that distances a person from Hashem the most and prevents him from ascending.
May we merit to know our self-worth and find true happiness wherever we are and also merit to draw down all the salvations we need!
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This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!