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Thursday, Tevet 5, 5779 / December 13, 2018


In this week’s Parsha, Vayigash, Joseph finally reveals his true identity to his brothers. He exclaims, "I am Joseph your brother whom you have sold to Egypt.  And now, do not be saddenednor shall you be upset that you sold me here, for G-d sent me before you to preserve life


On one hand, Joseph reminds the brothers that they sold him into slavery. At the same time, he tells them, Do not be saddened for it was G-d's will, to save lives during the famine years.


According to the teachings of Kaballah (mysticism) and Chassidus, sadness and dejection interfere with our connection to G-d and at the same time, distorts one's view on life. 


According to the great Kabalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Lurie (Ari Hakadosh), Joseph tells his brothers, "do not be saddened," in order that they will realize and understand that it was G-d who sent him to Egypt. Sadness and dejection gets in the way of appreciating everything which G-d does for us.


One who is happy, and everyone can find so much to be happy and thankful for, will deal with difficulty in a much better and easier way than one who is not.


The Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, stated, "Although sadness and dejection may not be listed among the sins of the Torah, yet, sadness and dejection can weigh a person down to the lowest levels, even more than sins. On the other hand, being joyous and happy can lead a person to the greatest spiritual heights!"


King David says in Psalm 100, "Let all the earth sing in jubilation to G-d. Serve G-d with joy; come before Him with exultation." To come before G-d and feel His presence, one needs to be joyous. 


In Psalms (121) King David says, "Hashem tzilcha" (G-d is your protective shade).  Our sages explain that "tzilcha" can be translated as, "your shadow." Just as a person's shadow is an exact copy of the way the person acts, so too, G-d is our shadow – He acts with us as we do. When a person is happy and thinks positive, he causes happiness in the heavenly spheres, which in turn, cause joy, goodness and blessings to flow down from above.


This can also be understood in the words of the Mishna, "Who is rich? One who is happy with their lot." When one is happy with their lot in life, it causes the heavens above to smile upon them, which in turn bring blessings.


The Baal Shem Tov said, "Sadness closes the gates of heaven. Prayer opens the gates of heaven.  The power of "simcha" - "joy" is so great that it can breach through any barriers in the heavenly walls!"


Happiness is a result of positive thinking which in turn brings positive results.