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Everything is foreseen, yet free will is granted…the mystical side of Judaism and life
by Reb Gutman Locks
There are different types, or levels of joy. Physical joy is wonderful and very welcome as long as it comes from a kosher (proper) source. Higher than this is emotional joy. This comes from such things as family love. Still higher than these is the joy that comes from intellectual accomplishment. Imagine how you would feel if you solved a problem that you had been working on for years and that solution will make life better for all.
There is another type of joy that none of these other types of joys can possibly reach. This is the spiritual joy that comes when Hashem blesses you by showing you that He is Present. This is the true meaning of the word Shechina. Shechina does not mean Hashem’s Presence; it means Hashem’s revealed Presence.
We can eat wonderful kosher food to experience physical joy, and we can give love to our closest family to experience emotional joy. We can work very hard and solve our intellectual problems, but what can we do to have Hashem bless us with the Shechina? The Talmud answers this question.
“The Shechina (Hashem’s revealed Presence) does not come to rest (upon a person) while in a state of gloom, and not through laziness, and not through levity, and not through ridicule, and not through chatter, and not through idle conversations, but rather through the joy that is associated with a mitzvah.”[i]
What can we do to increase our joy when doing a mitzvah? One thing is when we say the blessing, “Who has sanctified us with His commandments,” stop for a moment and remember that “sanctified us with His commandments” means “made us holy with His commandments”. When we fulfill a mitzvah we become holy. What more could anyone want from life? Remembering this should surely bring you joy.
Then, if you would like even more of this holy joy go help another Jew to find it too. When a candle lights another candle it not only does not lose any of its light, it actual gains light by standing in more light than it had been standing in before.
[i] Shabbos 30 b