- Gladness and Exultation
- Rivka Olenick
- "Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with
- What is the emphasis or repetition in "Serve the Lord" and
"come before Him" which has the same meaning. The sentence
also reads: "with gladness" and "with exultation"
that also has the same meaning. The sentence could have been written
as two separate statements: "Serve the Lord with gladness."
Or: "Come before Him with exultation." What is being
emphasized and repeated in the one sentence?
- Unfortunately, many people believe there cannot be gladness or
exultation when serving God or coming before Him. People mistakenly
think that the involvement in the commandments is painful and
burdensome and that we should live a life of suffering and
deprivation. The Torah's path is referred to as: "a tree of
life" "Her ways are ways of pleasantness" (Mishle 3:
17, 18). At the same time we should not think that to serve God, to
come before Him with gladness and exultation is simply an emotional
state having nothing to do with wisdom and thought. To the contrary a
person can begin to understand that gladness and exultation is
produced when serving God, especially in every day practical life when
you involve yourself in helping yourself and others. Every day life is
set up specifically to immerse itself in God's will. The more you use
your talents and skills to help others, the greater the gladness.
- Divine Service is more than going to the synagogue on the Sabbath or
making a phone pledge. Involve yourself in learning more about the
commandments and prayer. When you are fulfilling a commandment or are
involved in prayer, remind yourself that you are before the One and
Only God; that you come before the One Who created you and the world.
Do not allow anything or anyone to disrupt the relationship between
you and the Creator. Realize that you are dependent on God, not man.
Feel glad knowing that you are serving the One who knows all your
needs and provides you with all your needs. Be happy that you have God
to turn to. Thinking this way gives a person tremendous enthusiasm. It
creates a great sense of well being that you can direct your thoughts
this way. Begin to understand that by doing the mitzvos there are the
great benefits of gladness and exultation. Learn the truths and
purpose of the commandments, that itself produces gladness. Gladness
and happiness is a by-product of thought. Put your effort and energy
into fulfilling God's commandments with optimism and that will take
you away from your own sadness and the sadness in the world.
- Every Jew is obligated to serve God with joy and gladness in wealth
and in poverty in good health and even if one is ill. This level can
be reached slowly but be practical about it, you cannot demand
happiness from yourself. But you can certainly improve the quality of
your life, by putting more effort into Torah study and understanding
the commandments and their purpose in our lives. Over time the effort
you make in this area will produce peace of mind. It will remove you
from things that are petty and superficial and will remove you from
the constant need to seek approval from others, which will always
- Only God knows all your thoughts. Focus on this idea when you feel
estranged from God, especially when the world is in turmoil and when
you are personally suffering. It is God that relieves all suffering.
Know that when you serve God you are fulfilling your purpose, the
reason you were created and this understanding will begin to bring you
relief optimism and happiness. Do everything possible to preserve and
strengthen this relationship, it is the most important relationship we
have. Understanding this will give you satisfaction and peace of mind.
Your peace of mind will produce gladness so you can encourage others
to serve God with simcha. Only a life committed to service can produce
such gladness and exultation. The pusuk emphasizes that only service
produces gladness, that to come before God only, produces exultation.
- Don't allow yourself to be fooled to think that anything else can
bring a person such gladness and exultation. Else meaning red benders,
silver rings, handwriting annalists who claim to know your essence
from your handwriting, hanging a mezuzah in your car, a palm reader
who claims to foresee your future, or claims that one can direct your
life with a blessing, or anything else that you imagine instantly
creates gladness and exultation. This is all false. The only way to
serve God with gladness is through the commandments given to us in
truth. There is only one way to achieve exultation before God, through
service and truth.
- "The type of joy that is a mitzvah is the joy you share with
those less fortunate such as orphans, widows, those without a family
and poor people. If someone closes his doors to others and only
utilizes what he has for himself and his immediate family without
helping the poor and the unfortunate, his joy is not the joy of
mitzvah, but joy of the stomach. Such joy is a badge of shame."
Rambam, Hilchos Yom Tov 6:18.
- "The feeling of steady and constant spiritual and moral growth,
the continuous growth of all that is truly human in us, a blissful joy
of life that is not subject to change in any manner by the outward
circumstances which life may bring."
Samson Raphael Hirsch,The Hirsch Psalms, pg. 195.