Life can be extremely frustrating. Or, if you wish, extremely fascinating. Depends on how positively you perceive things. As a coach, I do not waste time watching movies, and not only for religious reasons. I watch real-life movies. If one wastes his time watching those fake films, he misses out on the real ones. The real-life movies are much more fascinating; each one, an original script by G-d. The greatest pleasure of life coaching is the ability to watch peoples' lives unfold. Being there for people as they bravely face their challenges and limitations, while their life goals, their hopes and dreams, are successfully achieved.
One of the elements of happiness is exactly this ? this worldview of "the movies". The ability to look at life as a journey, an adventure. It is an amazing plot that unfolds, an emotional plot. Tears and joy. Failure and success. There is no greater movie, no better plot, than your own life story. Forgive me for bringing an example from the movies. I just could not find a better parallel for life. The only difference is that in your life movie, G-d writes the script, and He makes you the producer.
Unfortunately, the life perspectives of the movie producers in California have an insidious impact on the subconscious decisions of the generation. Unfortunately, it is those perspectives that, in too many cases, set the dreams of the generation. Unfortunately, they also set the definition of what happiness is and how it is attained, these empty values being responsible for probably the greatest damage done by movies. They tell us and told us about the old American dream. The goal in life is to be settled. This is the greatest lie ever. For even those who achieve this settled state in life have not yet achieved happiness. G-d did not make us with this goal in mind; that is not the purpose for which G-d created the world. G-d's universal script is, No one settles here. No one knows where he is going in life, until he has one foot in the grave: a great lesson for humility. Sorry for getting deep. But the way to find happiness is to uncover the deeper perspective. When life is an adventure, that is where the fun is. That is where the happiness is. Life, and happiness in life, is not about being at the destination. It is about getting there. Happiness is the journey, not the destination. This, I believe, is what the Orchot Tzaddikim is referring to when he says that the core elements of happiness are Faith, Trust in G-d, Contentment and Intelligence. Faith in G-d would mean the belief that life is all a script written by G-d. Trust would mean, trusting Him that He cares for you in His Divine Story Line, and that everything somehow works out for the best. Everything somehow, sometime and somewhere, will make sense.
This is a new explanation of what we say in Hallel. זה היום עשה ה' נגילה ונשמחה בו This is the day that G-d made: let us rejoice and find happiness in Him. If you want to find happiness, if you are looking for a reason to rejoice, THIS IS THE DAY. Not tomorrow. Not coming to terms with yesterday. Try this. Close your eyes and go back to when you remember having had a great time in life. The time when you were really happy. Were you then in the future? Were you then in the past? I'll bet that in your happy times, you were in the Now. Just enjoying the good time you were having. Being there. If you want to have those good times again, all you have to do is to get into the Now again, being aware of what you feel, see, and hear Today. And, you may just be able to find that the happiest day of your life is actually today. That in today, you can see how G-d is writing your script, and it can sometimes make you laugh, sometimes make you cry. But the tear that you shed can be from a happy place in your heart, when you know that it is all just an amazing script - one that leaves you guessing, but leaves you without a clue as to how it will all turn out. So, sing with King David , Let us rejoice and find happiness in Him! Because, He made today today.
Our parasha starts וישב יעקב ?ביקש יעקב לישב בשלוה קפץ עליו רגזו של יוסף . Yaakov settled ? Our rabbis tell us, Yaakov sought to dwell in tranquility, and just at that moment, he was confronted by the tragedy of Yosef? the news that Yosef had been killed. We, of course, know that Yaakov was not looking for a materialistic life, or for the American dream. His whole life was about learning Torah and establishing the 12 Tribes. All he wanted, after his life of constant tribulation, was to settle down. To be next to his father, Yitzhak, and to honor him in peace and quiet. He sought peace of mind so that he could learn Torah and be the Father of the Tribes. How could it be that for this, Yaakov deserved such an extreme punishment, the heartbreak of losing his son?
The answer is, I believe, that this was not at all a punishment. It is the way of the world. Forget about being settled. All you can possibly do is go through the motions of settling down, but you are never really settled, for you do not know what G-d has in store for you in your life's script. If Yaakov had not sought to settle down, he would not have gotten so frustrated about not being able to accomplish what was, in fact, a "mission impossible". He would have been no more upset about this unexpectedly unfortunate turn of events than he had been at the other frustrating challenges he had gone through in his life. He might not have lost his Ruach Hakodesh.
Some of the happiest people around have very few things in life. They are the greatest antonym to the word settled. They seem to find their happiness in being on a journey; they find happiness and excitement in the fascinating unexpected. One homeless, not observant man that I used to meet would somehow stay happy, often telling me, "I always imagine that somewhere, I have a dream house. Somewhere, I have a clean and neat bed and a full refrigerator. In the meantime, I am just traveling. I did not get home yet." This is very similar to the צדיק ורע לו , the righteous person who has no rest in this world, but finds happiness in the thought that he has a peaceful, trouble-free, restful place waiting for him in the World to Come. In the meantime, he is just on a journey, and he is finding his happiness in the voyage called life.
Rabbi Yosef Farhi, Jerusalem