Rabbi Dr. Benji Levy
Find True Happiness
If you went on Amazon right now and typed in ‘happiness + books’ you would get roughly 80 000 results – all books trying to teach you the secret to happiness. That’s a lot of secrets.
So what if we just start with three?
Let me explain,
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks highlighted the following paths to happiness:
Sacrificing for a cause
Inner peace and
One - Inner peace
True happiness comes from finding peace and serenity from within yourself. I learnt this from Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku who called himself the happiest man on earth. When asked how he could be so happy after surviving Auschwitz he told me that his secret to being happy was his capacity to find peace. He was able to let go of negativity and open himself up to the beauty of the world and find the inner peace that led to happiness.
Two - Covenantal community
Every Friday night, I close my eyes and smile when I sing a verse in the Lecha Dodi prayer, “your God shall rejoice over you, as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.” At that moment, I think about the most important covenantal partnership of my life - my marriage to my wife Renana. A partnership that has enabled us to build a Jewish family and covenantal community.
Being a part of a partnership and community built around a shared covenant of faith and identity gives one a sense of belonging and peace that leads to happiness. Think of the last time you felt part of a community or spent time with those close to you, did you not feel true joy?
Three - sacrificing for a cause
How can we derive joy from sacrifice? Think about the last time you sacrificed something for a cause you believed in? Didn’t you feel a deep sense of fulfilment, joy and happiness?
Abraham’s life was ridden with hardships. Despite that we’re told that he lived a wholesome life and ultimately found true joy. In more recent times the earliest Zionist pioneers sacrificed to turn what was inhabitable land under onerous conditions into the future of the Jewish state yielding the ultimate joy in seeing the state of Israel born and growing.
Forget about all the ‘secrets’ and access one of these 3 pathways.