By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
One of the most successful tactics of the evil inclination inside each one of us, is to cause a person sadness and worse yet, depression. When one is tired and weary, he makes his move to bring the person down even further. Not only with doing foolish things, but worse yet, the guilt that follows afterwards.
In the Holy book of the Tanya, he writes that the only way one is able to be victorious over the evil inclination is with enthusiasm and joy which is not tainted by any worries or sadness. He compares this, to two people fighting. Even if one is naturally stronger, he will be defeated by the weaker one if he lacks joy and enthusiasm.
The G-dly inclination inside every person is the spark of G-dliness, and is compared to light. A small quantity of light can chase away much darkness, but the person must be happy and joyous. I didn’t say that he must enjoy himself, I said, he must find joy in his life.
The spirit of internal strength that comes from one spark of G-dliness does not rest on someone who is sad or downhearted.
The book of the prophets tells us a story, that when Elisha became angry at Yehoraam, the king for his wicked ways, the spirit of prophecy left him. It was only after music was played for him, and his moods were lifted, that his spirit of prophecy returned.
The Talmud says a story, that once there was a Rabbi walking around in the market place when he happened to notice Elijah, the prophet. The Rabbi asked the prophet, was there anyone in the market place who merited paradise. The prophet answered in the negative. Soon, two brothers entered the marketplace, and Elijah pointed to them saying, “These will merit the world to come”. The Rabbi went over to them and asked, what their occupation was, and they said, “We are joyful people, and we make those who are sad happy. If we hear an argument, we make peace using humor between those quarreling.”
In the book of mysticism, the Zohar, it says there. The way we act here in this world, is the way we are dealt with from above. When a person acts in a happy, joyous, relaxed, and open mind-set, G-d will deal with him in the same way, in a happy and joyous way.
Once, a great Rabbi crossing over a bridge in Danzig saw a man struggling to save himself in the waters below. Seeing no way that he could save the fellow, he called out, “send regards to the big fish at the bottom of the river”. At that moment – G-d came to the mans’ aid, and the fellow was able to catch onto a plank of wood and save himself. The Rabbi later explained, that due to the mans broken spirit, he could not be helped. “When I made that foolish funny comment – in that moment of distraction, he was able to save himself with the power of the joke”.
A person should try to keep himself occupied with things to accomplish, that he doesn’t have the time to think about his sadness.
When the evil inclination comes to a person and tries to persuade him with all kinds of foolish arguments that he has every reason to feel sad, the person must respond without entering any logical arguments, “you are bad and trying to trick me, even if what I did or who I am isn’t perfect, I have an obligation to always be happy”
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