Friday, March 11, 2011


"Put a smile on your face. Be happy!"

Especially now that we are in the month of Adar, when we are told that the standard "Serve G-d with joy" is not enough for this month, we must intensify our joy.

But what are we to do when sometimes it's just too hard, sometimes we just don't feel we really have much to smile about??

The Tzemach Tzedek (the third Lubavitcher Rebbe) suggested to one of his followers who was having a hard time attaining a sufficient level of joy, to act as if he has a full and joyous heart, to show joyous mannerisms even if that is not how he really feels at the moment. And ultimately, he will feel this way in actuality.

In other words, "fake it, till you make it".

In a similar vein, a follower came to the Alter Rebbe (the first Lubavitcher Rebbe) asking how he could help his fellow Jew who pretended to be pious, but was actually quite a sinner.

The Alter Rebbe said to him: "The Mishna says that a person who pretends to be a pauper but is not will ultimately become a pauper. So, too, this man who pretends to be pious but is not should ultimately become pious!"

As we see here, the initial step to being happy is to pretend we are happy even if we are not. Eventually, the play-acting will no longer be acting but actual.

Judaism teaches "Receive all people happily" and "Receive them with a cheerful countenance." Even if we aren't inwardly, genuinely happy to see someone, at least we should greet them with a cheerful countenance, an external expression of joy.

As a great sage taught us, "Even if your heart does not rejoice when someone visits you, you can pretend to be cheerful when he arrives."

So, be happy! It's Adar! And if you don't feel happy, fake it until you do!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Moshiach - result of our good doing..

Although Moshiach will bring about great changes in the world, these changes will all take place as a result of changes in us. G-d created the world-and all the challenges within-because He desired our work.

Moshiach is a direct and “natural” outcome of our efforts. Through changing ourselves we will be more refined, our understanding will be truer, and our actions more effective. It is these informed actions that will bring all of the changes of Moshiach.
In other words, Moshiach is not like a prize awarded after completing some task but rather, the natural consequence of our deeds.

Moshiach is not something separate from who we are—it is our inner self.
Moshiach is not something separate from the world—it is its inner core.
Therefore, there can be no true opposition to Moshiach. Displayed resistance comes only from lack of knowledge and understanding or the fear of the unknown.

Hence, we must learn as much as we can about Moshiach, and seek to truly understand the whole concept. Anything that is met with resistance—either internally or externally—is merely a sign of an improper understanding. The Rebbe recommends that if we are not comfortable explaining Moshiach to others then we should begin by understanding it better ourselves. By its very nature, it is something that every person must understand and come to appreciate personally.

Do you have any unresolved questions about Moshiach? Challenge yourself to research those topics.

Monday, March 7, 2011

R'Zushe Annipoli's daughter's wedding gown.

The daughter of Rabbi Zusia of Anipoli was engaged. As poor as he was, Reb Zusia and his wife scraped together enough money for a seamstress to sew a beautiful gown for the bride-to-be. After a month, the gown was ready and Reb Zusia's wife went with her bundle of rubles to the home of the seamstress to retrieve the finished gown.

She came home empty-handed. "Where is the gown??" asked both the Rebbe and his daughter, almost in unison.

"Well," said his wife, "When I came to pick up the gown, I saw tears in the eyes of the seamstress. I asked her why she was crying and she told me that her daughter, too, was getting married. Then she looked at the beautiful gown that she had sewn for me and sighed, "If only we could afford such beautiful material for a gown."

"At that moment" concluded Reb Zusia's wife, "I decided to let the seamstress have our gown as a gift."

Reb Zusia was delighted. The mitzvah of helping a poor bride was dear to him and he longed for the opportunity to fulfill it. But he had one more question for his wife. "Did you pay her for the work she did for us?"

"Pay her?
" asked the wife, astonished, "I gave her the gown!!"

"I'm sorry,"
said the Rebbe. "You told me the gown was a gift. We still owe her for the weeks of work she spent for us."

The Rebbetzin agreed and returned to compensate the seamstress for her dedicated labor...for the gown she was given as a gift.

Now that's greatness.