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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

Simcha in Avodas Hashem

In this week’s Parsha, while Moshe was still in heaven, Hashem told him that the Jews had sinned with the Golden Calf. Yet it was only when Moshe approached the camp and saw the calf and the Jews dancing, that he decided to break the tablets. What changed that only then did Moshe decide to break the tablets, and not once he heard directly from Hashem that they had sinned?

One answer is that Moshe was aware of that they had sinned, but it wasn’t until he came down from Heaven did he then see that they were DANCING with the calf. A person dances when [s]he is happy and filled with joy, so obviously they were enjoying themselves. Now it’s one thing to sin, but when one gets a ‘geshmak’ [pleasure] in the sin, that’s a lot worse, because when you enjoy something you connect to it and become attached to it. That is why Moshe only decided to break the tablets when he came down, when he saw them dancing.

The Seforim tell us that just about all character traits have a ‘tzad hatov.’ Meaning that instead of stunting the character trait that we use in a bad way, we should try to channel it for the good.

Simcha as well works both ways. Studying Torah, Davening, and doing Mitzvos with joy is an extremely important part of Judaism. Not only is it okay to enjoy the Mitzvos that we do, it is an extremely integral part of the Mitzva. All for the same reason that when you enjoy something, you connect to it, love it, and continue to do it.

The holy Seforim tells us that whenever we see the word ‘Hamelech’ [the king] in Megillas Esther, besides for referring in the simple understanding to Achashveirosh, it also has a deeper meaning in reference to Hashem, the King of all kings. Some of them are more easily understood, while others may elude us and require deeper understanding to reveal the meaning to us.

Here’s one of the easier understood ones. The Pasuk says when Mordechai was going towards the palace in sackcloth, ‘he came until the front of the king’s gate for it is forbidden to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth.”

The Pasuk is telling us that you cannot enter the palace of Hashem with sackcloth. Meaning that the authentic highest form of connection to Hashem is not with sadness or fear [denoted by the term sackcloth and the obvious sadness and fear that Mordechai was in at that time] but rather with joy and love for Hashem.

Now as Purim has just passed, let us all channel the special Simcha that is, ‘in the air,’ towards Avodas Hashem. Perhaps this will be [part of] our share in rectifying the sin of the Golden Calf. May we all have a wonderful uplifting year filled with rejuvenation of joy and passion in our service of Hashem.

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