Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

No person in their right mind would inject himself with an unknown fluid, for he knows this can be fatal. And, as we know that earthly life lasts only a few decades, our greater concern should be for our souls which can enjoy an eternity of pleasure. The problem people face is their conviction that physical pleasures outweigh pleasures of wisdom and the soul. People also live with a fantasy of immortality, making it additionally difficult to embrace the truth of a brief lifespan and the reality of the afterlife. But the pleasures of the afterlife can also be enjoyed here if a person can break away from physical pleasures and experiment with Torah study. It's difficult to share with the person who is ignorant of Torah that he can truly enjoyment Torah study and wisdom in general, instead of trying to gain happiness from wealth and fame that the most successful people don’t seem to find. One must spend some time learning to enjoy the experience.

Part of the problem is that our society raises us to seek public approval, expressed in the value of success and fame (public matters), as opposed to the pursuit of wisdom (a private experience). Of course, society got this notion from the very design of our psyches. Psychologically, an infant craves parental approval. The infant views the parent as more significant than any other person. At a certain point in maturation, the infant becomes an adult who recognizes that his parents are no different than any other. What most people do at this point is seek to fill the void by creating figures in their mind that will replace the “parental” approval for which they still crave. As Rabbi Israel Chait stated, society itself fills that parental role. Thereby, people continue to live guided by the unconscious emotion for approval. And as society praises success and fame, people spend their entire lives chasing it…all to gain an unconscious approval from the “parent.” But people fail to attain true happiness. Why?

Judaism asks a person to question everything, to examine his behaviors, and to learn what God has taught to be the true source of happiness. God designed us, therefore His prescription for happiness has to be true. A person truly wishing happiness must not self medicate, as he knows the doctors know better than him, so he also must not ignore God's prescription for happiness. Doing so, a person forfeits a truly happy life and perhaps even his afterlife. Therefore, it behooves every person to immediately consider God's words, identify a knowledgeable Torah educator or resource, and invest time in order to experience what you are missing. Just as we are convinced by a doctor's knowledge to follow his advice, should we not be even more convinced by the Creator’s prescription for happiness?