Thursday, February 18, 2010

Insights of an 8 year old.

What can I say? Chazal tell us: eizehu chacham? halomed mikol adam. (Who is wise? He who learns from every man)
Through listening to a very frustrated 8 year old daughter I learned something important. Her teacher had just taught them something very similar to what I always "preach". That true happiness is what we get from doing mitzvos and serving Hashem. Why was my child so frustrated? The teacher gave them homework asking them to list things they did that gave them true happiness. But they were not allowed to say something like, "When my mom bought me a new such and such." It had to be from doing miztvos.
"But Ima," she protested. "I can't think of any mitzvos I did that made me happy."
"What about the fact that you help me with the baby and make me happy?"
"I do that cause I have to. It doesn't make me happy, though."
"So what makes you happy?"
"Having my friends over, getting a treat from you..."

She was just being honest. That's wonderful! The fact is, I realize now, that there are 2 levels, as it were, of happiness. If we did not become happy from compliments given to us by others, from treats brought home for us by other family members, i.e. our spouse, kids, parents etc., in short, nice things others do for us, we would never be told to do things for others. I mean if it doesn't bring happiness anyway, why bother, right? But she was right. A person has to be on a very high darga (spiritual level) to attain true happiness from performing mitzvos, particularly the ones that cause us suffering or discomfort. Certainly an eight year old cannot be expected to attain such happiness if we adults barely can.
We have to focus on both levels of happiness. The simpler one, that keeps us going in our every day trials and tribulations and the higher one which brings us closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and everlasting simcha. True Simcha ;-)

משהו בעברית
ביתי בת 8 אמרה משהו מענין. היא אמרה "אמא, את מכירה את הביטוי "החיים הם כמו חבל דק..."? אני מעדיפה להשוות אותם למשהו אחר. לי הם נראים כמו ים גדול מלא בגלים שסוחפים אותנו לכל מיני כיוונים." היא צודקת, אנחנו
באמת צריכים ללמוד איך לשלוט על הגלים ולנתב אותם לכיוונים מועילים וטובים ולא לתת להם לשלוט עלינו

1 comment:

s said...

Great message :) It really does take time and effort to feel joy from it

I think we can try to infuse that happiness by making the mitzvos enjoyable for them.
And with the more challenging ones, we can teach about obligation to do, because that's what G-d feels is best for us to do

One thing we should all remember is patience and perserverence