Thanking Hashem for the small things is the real secret of happiness
The final redemption, which is the greatest level of perfection, is an aspect of Moshiach ben David. David is from the seed of Yehuda, and he was called Yehuda from the Hebrew meaning ‘to give thanks and praise to Hashem.’
It’s human nature to whole-heartedly feel all the unpleasant things and the lacks in our lives, while we often don’t even notice or feel the pleasant things.
At every moment, each of us has so many good things happening for us, but because we don’t pay attention to them, we don’t receive any light from them. The secret of Moshiach ben David is the height of simplicity, namely to see and feel all the small, good things we all have. When we do this, and we see the goodness of Hashem, that brings an immense light of happiness into our soul.
When you have a cup of coffee to drink, and a refrigerator in your house, and also even some food in the fridge – this is true happiness! So much of your reality is actually chock-full of wonderful things. If you start to see all these wonderful small, day-to-day things and start to say ‘thank you’ for them, you’ll acquire the trait of happiness.
How does this work? The yetzer hara – the imagination – tries to weaken our feelings for the good things and to strengthen our feelings about what is lacking. This is spiritual poison, and after a while a person simply falls into sadness. Therefore, the main cure for the soul in our generation is to thank and give praise to Hashem. This draws down light to a person from the ‘general redemption’, and sweetens all the judgments.
It’s written in the Midrash that Hashem said: “How many generations have I searched for the soul of David, my servant, and I found him in the field of Moav” (Breishit Rabbah, 50). Why was Hashem so amazed? Because Hashem said:
“I found a Jew who I’m giving a whole bunch of difficulties, but no matter what he goes through, he just thanks Me, and sings me songs and praises. Therefore, he is the root of the Moshiach.”
Excerpted from Rav Ofer Erez’s new book in English, ‘From the Depths‘.