Parshat Ki Tetzai: Wiping out the memory of Amalek
More secrets of the Torah, with Rav Eliezer Berland, shlita.
By way of simcha, happiness, we’ll survive all our transgressions! By being happy, we’ll merit to have every type of healing! By way of simcha, we’ll merit to have every miracle. By way of simcha, we can wipe out Amalek. We can erase all the sins! By being happy, we can escape from all the transgressions in the world.
We need to take great care about being happy, always. Because the moment that there is even just a drop of sadness, maybe on account of a sin that we’ve done, or because we have money worries, so a person is made in such a way that he’ll then fall into an even bigger sin.
Because of his sadness, because of his worry, he’ll fall into doing even greater sins!
Sadness only makes the suffering worse
There are people whose greatest pleasure lies in being sad – they are wallowing in sadness all their lives. If you try to cheer them up even a little bit, you simply irritate them. They never tasted a drop of simcha, happiness, their whole long lives.
“And the rule is, that we need to make every effort, and use all our strength, to be only happy always, because the nature of man is to be drawn to bitter depression and sadness, on account of the difficulties and circumstances of the time; and every person is full of suffering. So, we need to force ourselves, with tremendous strength, to be happy, always.” (Likutey Moharan 2:24)
A person falls into sadness because of the force of all the suffering he’s experiencing. The suffering is what causes him to enter that sort of bitter, black depression, that puts his brain to sleep, and disconnects him from his senses.
Depression is an anesthetizing drug! Depression is a narcotic that gives a person some ‘quiet’ and some ‘calmness’ – but it’s all just imaginary.
The opposite is really happening: The depression only amplifies the suffering, it only makes them greater. So the ikker (essence) of a person’s spiritual work is the battle against feelings of depression – and this requires a lot of mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice).
Don’t ever let the depression rule over you!
We need to fight to stay happy
Rav Natan of Breslov says that in order to fight against yeoush, despair, you need mesirut nefesh. Happiness doesn’t just appear by itself. Being happy is the hardest thing of all! The biggest obstacles of all surround simcha, happiness. Everything that the Satan is fighting about, it’s just to prevent people from being happy!
This is what he’s fighting about.
The whole battle is just to stop you from being happy. This is the work of the Satan, that you shouldn’t be happy, that you shouldn’t dance, that you shouldn’t rejoice.
Each and every one of us experiences insults and humiliations, each of us goes through ‘adventures’ with our body and souls. There are a million reasons why you could be unhappy. The nature of a person is to be depressed and sad. But happiness can rearrange everything.
If a person sings to Hashem, and dances, then all the bounty will be sent to him.
There is no reason to be depressed
So, there is no reason to be depressed. Everyone has a sharp intellect, everyone can attain all the things that exist in the world – if only they will leave their sadness and depression behind. With simcha, you can merit to turn your ‘downs’ into ‘ups’, and to sweeten all the harsh judgments, and turn them into salvations.
Rav Natan says that the main thrust of Haman the Amalekite’s accusations and challenges was to do with happiness. He couldn’t stand when Am Yisrael was happy, when they were dancing, full of joy, and singing on their festivals and shabbats, etc.
Shabbat is all about joy
Shabbat is coming. Shabbat is simcha and dancing. For six days, you got some food, Baruch Hashem, you aren’t sick – so start dancing and rejoicing! Your wife is healthy? Start dancing and rejoicing! You have children? Start dancing and rejoicing! You don’t yet have children? In the merit of all your dancing and happiness, you’ll have offspring!
You still don’t have a shidduch (marriage partner)? In the merit of your rejoicing, you’ll find a shidduch! When Shabbat comes, you need to sit with your children and make them feel happy, and to sing with them enthusiastically. Don’t just say: ‘Poor me, I’m depressed, it’s hard for me to be happy, what do I have to be joyful about?!’
It’s difficult for everyone to maintain their happiness.
Happiness can cure every sickness
You need a lot of mesirut nefesh to stay happy. But by way of simcha, a person can subdue all the klipot (side of evil), and can become purified from all the tumah (spiritual impurity).
Happiness can heal all the illnesses that exist in the world.
A person sees that he’s stumbling, that his body is getting the better of him, that Amalek is beating him, and wants to flip him into sadness, and bitter, black depression – but even so, it’s still forbidden for him to lose his concentration!
He needs to immediately go and look for some friends to dance with, to cheer himself up, to say some tehillim with, and to search out all different types of strategies to continue to stay happy.
A person needs to know that his neshama (soul) isn’t at all connected to transgressions. The neshama is always a tzaddik (a holy person), it’s always pure, it’s always holy. Whenever a person falls into sins, it’s only because he isn’t happy enough. So, it’s forbidden to lose your concentration, don’t let anything pull you down, no sin, no problem, not even if you stumbled into some transgression.
Just make teshuva, and start to be happy again!
Sing, hum a melody, recite some psalms – the ikker (whole point) is just not to fall into depression! Because this is the war between Amalek and between the soul. This is the war you’re fighting against the yetzer hara, which just wants to drag you down into sadness.
Adapted and translated from Tzama Nafshi.