Parsha: Emor (2024)

There is a Chssidic expression: ”Joy breaks all barriers”. This is not just some spiritual or esoteric idea, rather it is something we see in our daily lives.
When we approach a day with joy, things tend to be easier. People are more willing to cooperate. Our children want to be part and are attracted by the joy. We become more creative, productive and more grateful.

The Parsha this week discusses all the Chagim, each one with their one unique observances and message.
When it comes to Sukkot the Torah says ושמחת בחגך. “You should rejoice in the Holiday”.
It’s kind of strange to “command” someone to be joyous. How can you demand or expect a certain emotion? How can G-d have this expectation that we should be joyous at certain times, what if I’m not feeling happy?

The truth is, Joy can be an expectation. Because we can turn on joy and happiness if we choose to. Getting something new or doing something exciting gives one’s mood a boost. But it won’t bring us happiness
 Joy and happiness comes from what we choose to do and think, about from moment to moment. Happiness comes from doing goodness, being productive, caring, and being helpful. In addition, each thought we think, can shape our mood and emotion. In order to produce a steady flow of happiness, we need to take positive action as well and take ownership of our thought processes.

We are right now in the month of Iyar where we count the Omer. It is during this time in the Jewish calendar that we prepare for the holiday of Shavuot, (Holiday of the giving of the Torah). This is done by refining our character and becoming a better person. One major focus of inner refinement is to make sure we have a good dose of joy in our life. This will allow us to be better people and be better prepared for the giving of the Torah.

We all have barriers in life, some real, some imaginary. Let’s make the daily choice to show up with joy. The barriers will begin to fade and open a bright new path of success and meaning.

Shabbat Shalom