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Menucha & Simcha (Jewish Press Article)

Attaining Menucha and Simcha In Zmiros Friday night we say that Menucha V’simcha Ohr Layhudim, calm and happiness are a light for the Jew. How appropriate this is in our times, how much we long for Menucha from our anxieties and Vsimcha from our depressions. True that we are in a world that moves faster and the responsibilities and pressures are more than ever before. The flip side is that Hashem always creates the solution before he sends the problem. The solutions are amongst the enormous knowledge available and the amount of people we can learn from in today’s times virtually all over the world thanks to so many technological advances. We just need to make use of the solutions available to us. We have a responsibility to utilize the help available to us. A Gadol is quoted as saying that the most flawed concept we are thought in school is that we can overcome any obstacle hashem sends us on our own, Hashem gives us the ability to deal with it in advance. If one was to talk to those involved with serious tragedies they would tell you that this proves to be inaccurate every day of the week. People are dealt with nisyonos that they cannot ever handle on their own. What chazal intended is that Hashem makes the solution available before the problem, but not necessarily can you do it on your own. After all you need others to make your clothing, food, electric and so on. The solution is out there for you to attain. Your Menucha and simcha were created before your problem was. How come I don’t have it? Why can’t I help myself? The answer is that it is available to you, but you need to find it.

How can I go about finding the solution to my problem with anxiety and depression? The answer is very simple in my opinion and that is by modeling. Einstein once said “Insanity: is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” modeling is exactly the opposite extreme; the concept is to find somebody who had already attained what you want to accomplish and model them. There is somebody out there who has had the same challenge you are experiencing who learned through the school of hard knocks and can teach you how to deal with or overcome your challenge. Based on the idea, that the brain is a neutral piece of equipment and everyone’s brain operates in with similar rules. The difference is the programs (thought patterns) that run in them, and not the actual hardware (physical/biological brain). Furthermore if you were to interview 10,000 anxiety sufferers you would find that they all think in similar patterns. And if you interviewed 10,000 non-anxiety sufferers you would find that they too have common patterns. The reason why you think the way you do is not nearly as important to getting help as the way you need to think in the future to become a calmer and happier person.

We have access in today’s day and age to so many individuals who have the knowledge that we so desperately need to attain menucha and simcha in our lives. The gemarah in Brochos DAF 7 teaches us this concept of modeling. It says ‘Gedolah Shimusha Yoiser Milinudah”, it is greater to serve a talmud chacham then learning torah on your own. The gemarah teaches us that by learning and modeling others we can get further than doing it by on our own. What would be the first step to successfully modeling someone who has achieved success in an area that I would like to succeed in? It probably would be the same that you would do if you were going anywhere you wish to go to. You would realize where you are now initially, and then where you would like to go to. With those pertinent pieces of information you can go anywhere you wish. All you need is to ask someone who knows or use a map. Let me elaborate with following analogy. If a woman was to call me hysterically and say that she is somewhere and she is very upset that she is not at her daughter’s chuppah that is going on right now. The first question to ask would be where are you now? What if she says that she refuses to open her eyes because she doesn’t want to accept her reality, because she belongs and deserves to be by the chuppah. Is there any way that I can help her get to where she wants to go? Will she ever be able to get to where she wants to go to? Absolutely not! Until she open her eyes and realizes where she is now, she can’t get the help she needs. The second part is like with anywhere else you would want to go to is to know to where you want to go. Do you know where you want to go to? Do you know what menucha and simcha look like for you? What life would be like with it? How it feels, so you know how to recognize it when you get there?

Most people who suffer emotionally just complain that they are not happy with their current situation. I compare this to getting into a taxi and when the driver turns on the meter and asks where are you headed? You answer, not here! You will then find yourself driving for hours while the meter is rolling and you will still not arrive at your desired destination, simply because you never gave the driver an address. However if you have an address the driver can drive you there rather quickly. This is a major reason why people are no where they want to be. Why not ask yourself, if I got up tomorrow morning and my anxiety and/or depression is gone, how would life be better (clarify what you do want)? You need to be able to create clear images as to where you want to go (how you would like to feel) in order to go there. Go ahead and take out a pen and paper and write ten ways life would feel better if your anxiety/depression disappeared. If you are specific and clear in you imagery, and fully associate with it daily, you will find yourself moving towards them. You will also be driven to find role models who can help get there. Jews blessed with a mesorah that is carried forth by many gedolim and special individuals in our generation, coupled with the fact that we are the nation of the book, you will find the information we need to accomplish our goal of menucha and simcha and merit that Menucha Vesimcha Ohr Leyhudim.

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