About Simcha, Happiness

You see friends, G-d makes it a little bit hard not to give up hope on the world. It is so easy to give up hope on the world.

I remember just some time ago I was driving in Tel Aviv with the head of Jewish education in Israel. A good man, he has a yarmulke and tzitzits, everything cute and sweet. And he says to me, in all seriousness, "Let's face it, we will never have peace in Israel. There will always be war." By the next red light – it's for real – I said; I don’t want to drive with you. I don’t want to drive with you. You don’t believe in G-d, because you don’t believe in people. Our prophets promised us that one day the whole world will be good. So what good is it that you talk about Jewish education and you don't believe one word of the Torah.

Right… He only believes that you shouldn’t eat ham. It's cute, right. But what about the inside? How about believing that one day the world will be good. Anyway…

What is it to do something with joy? This is really beautiful. It is from Rebbe Nachman. So you would say: Joy is that I am happy, I am smiling. I called up my therapist and told him; 'I am not coming tomorrow, I don’t need you tomorrow'.

What do you call joy? Right… There is an unbelievable definition: Joy is that if nothing ever will happen to me in my whole life - this one moment can carry me forever. Joy is that I do something, and I say to g-d; 'You don’t ever have to give me anything else, I don’t even need paradise. If I was only born for this one moment, this is enough for me.' This is called joy. And the only thing he is asking is: 'Master of the world, in your infinite mercy, can you give me another moment like this.'

Imagine I walk in the street and I see somebody dying from hunger, and I gave him something, and I say, 'Master of the world, what a privilege, awesome privilege, I saved somebody's life. It's so good, so good.' I want you to know friends, you know… some of you do something good… Ok. Once in my life I had the privilege really to experience this. It’s a long long long long story, but I am just giving you that part.

I was in Nice, I think it was in 1964. At that time I was just beginning, I would never even walk across the street without my guitar. Anyway, I am arriving in Nice, and the first morning I go down to the beach with my guitar. And right away mamish people gathered, and we were singing and dancing all day long. Among them there was a young lady, and it’s a long long story. She had a big cross hanging on her neck. And the whole time while I was singing Hebrew Jewish songs, she was crying. I said to her, 'Why are you crying?' She said, 'I want you to know, my mother is Jewish, my father isn't. My father saved my mother from the concentration camps. And she promised him that she will educate her children not being Jewish.' She says, 'You know something , I have to go to Israel. I just have to go. I don’t care how, but I got to go.' And then I spoke to her the next night. I was sitting in a coffee shop, and suddenly somebody comes, you know, and puts their hands on my eyes, and says, 'Guess who it is?' Ahh, it's Kristine. She was completely besides herself. She says, 'Shlomo, I am telling you, I have to go to Israel. I just have to go. If I am not going, I don’t want to live.' Very strong... That night we gathered somewhere and we were singing. In the middle of the singing, she comes up to me, and kisses me, and she says, 'I just want to bless you, because I will never see you again.' I run after her. And it was 2 o'clock in the morning, there was nobody at the beach. She throws off her shoes, and she is already in the water. I get rid of my shoes fast, I swim after her. Anyway, she is swimming like a fish so fast. I tried to keep up with her. I said, 'Listen Kristien, if you want to commit suicide, you will have to do it tomorrow night because tonight, if you commit suicide, you are killing me also, it is not fair.' She says, 'I didn't tell you to come after me.' And we argue, she is swimming, I am swimming after her, and she is crying. She says, 'I had enough. I had enough of this life.' Tsss... Anyway, then she fainted. You know, from all the crying, she fainted. The moment she fainted, she was really drowning. I grabbed her fast, to bring her back. It’s a long long story. When we came back to the shore, there was already an ambulance, and I was exhausted beyond words. Because I had never learned to be a lifeguard. It is heavy to bring her back. Ok the ambulance brought her to the hospital. - And just to add something sad, I left the next morning at 6 o'clock to go to Israel. And I had asked one of my so called best friends, I gave him my card and said, 'Please, tomorrow morning, go into the hospital and give her my card. Tell her I want to hear from her.' I never heard from her. Seven years ago I was in Denmark and I meet him again, I said, 'Did you give her the card?' 'Oh no,' he says. 'I didn’t think it's important.' Tsss... I told him, 'I don’t want to be in your skin in the other world.'

Anyway, I was lying on the beach and I had not one ounce of strength left. Do you know how happy I was? I mamish saved someone's life. You know what it is… I felt so good. I want you to know, I felt so holy… I could never imagine myself ever doing anything wrong again. I was like… I was completely, absolutely, thoroughly purified.

Then Rebbe Nachman says: At that moment that you have this absolute joy, real joy, at that moment, we have the gift of prophesy. Do you know why we are not prophets? Because G-ds prophesy cannot be upon you when you are sad. Because prophesy is heaven. Right... So Rebbe Nachman says, the most important thing is, you have to do something with so much joy.

You know… when I learn this on the Moshav sometimes… I tell all of the holy sisters and mothers: You know, when our baby is crying in the middle of the night, there are two ways of handling it. Right… I could say, 'Damn it. The baby just woke me up two minutes ago. What is going on here? Chutzpah! Or, you can jump up, and say, 'Gevalt, Master of the world. How do I deserve this? How do I deserve that there is a little baby who needs me so much!' You know… at that moment, if you do it with so much joy, at that moment, G-d gives you the gift of prophesy.

You know, when I had the privilege of having my first daughter, I would always tell my friends: I am coming home from a concert at 5 o'clock, dead tired. Imagine, anybody in the world would wake me up at five thirty, I would wring their neck. My baby Neshamale wakes me up at five thirty, gevalt, I am besides myself. I remember, mamish, my wife and I we always were like… both of us wanted to be the first to get up. I mean, what a privilege, what a privilege. How much would people who have no children give for one time to be woken up by a baby.

But again, Rebbe Nachman says, you can live your whole life and you never experience that. You can only experience this if you mamish, really, whatever you do, you have to do it with your whole heart, with your whole inner strength. With your whole physical… that means; whatever you do, you have to do completely.

Ok, if a person wants to know; 'Is what I am doing is wholeheartedly?' Look in the mirror. If you walk around with a long face, with a dark face, then you know that you never did anything good in your life with all your heart. Ahh… if your face is shining, your face is shining... And you see friends, you know, it's crazy, I have seen people who have saved… you know I was once talking to a lifeguard in Tel Aviv. His face was dark like… like hell. He was bitter and angry. I said to him, 'How many lives have you saved in the last four weeks?' He says, 'I saved the lives of twenty six children.' He saved twenty six children and he walks around bitter and angry? I said, 'You should be dancing day and night.' But you know what it is, he saves children because he gets paid. It’s a job, like a shoemaker. He jumps into the ocean and gets kids out. He does not feel anything.

You know the most beautiful thing in the world is, if you can do something, and g-d gives you the privilege to feel what you are doing.

Ok, one more thing. When do we have the privilege of knowing what's my purpose in this world?

A lot of people get to be rich. They have one house in Johannesburg, one house in Monaco one house in Rio de Janeiro, and if you are really rich, one house in Paris. So what. What am I doing here? But if you do one thing with all your heart, at that moment, you have a vessel, that heaven can reveal to you what is your real purpose in life.