Serving God
Rivka Olenick
"Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with exultation." Psalms 100:2
The sentence above contains both gladness and exultation although they mean the same thing. The sentence could have simply stated: "Serve the Lord with gladness." Or "Come before Him with exultation." What is the emphasis on gladness and exultation? What is the emphasis on "Serve the Lord" and "come before Him" which also appears to have the same meaning?
Unfortunately, many people believe that there cannot be gladness or exultation when serving God. They believe that the involvement in the commandments is painful and burdensome and comes only out of fear; it doesn't. We should not think that to Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with exultation is purely emotional and which has nothing to do with wisdom and thought. To the contrary a person can eventually understand that great joy can be produced when serving God, especially in our every day life.
Every day life runs its' course according to God's will. Divine Service is much more than going to the synagogue on the Sabbath. When you involve yourself in the effort and the concentration of prayer, remind yourself that you are standing before the One and Only God, that you come before the One Who created you and the entire world. Nothing can intercede the relationship between you and the Creator. Feel glad knowing that you are serving the One who knows all your needs and provides you with all your needs. Isn't it true? Thinking this way can give a person tremendous strength in understanding that by performing and understanding the mitzvos with gladness, there are great benefits. By exploring the truth and the ideas behind the purpose of the commandments, this can produce gladness in your mind. Placing concentration, effort and energy into fulfilling the commandments with this mind set can take you away from your own sadness and the sadness we observe in the world.
Each Jew is obligated to serve God with joy and gladness in wealth and in poverty in good health and even if one is ill. Serving God does produce gladness and exultation and that can take you away from those things that are petty and superficial and can take you away from needing the approval of others.
Only God knows all your thoughts. This is a very important idea to be more cognizant of since many people feel estranged from God when they are suffering. Remember, that only God, relieves your suffering. Know that when you serve God sincerely you are fulfilling your purpose, the reason you were created and understanding this truth can bring you happiness and peace of mind. We must try to do everything possible to preserve and strengthen this relationship, which is the most important relationship we have. Hopefully, this of way thinking can give one the impetus to be more sincerely involved in chesed and Torah study, which are mainly the ways we serve God. Understanding that this is what we were created to do will bring peace of mind to you and your family. Your peace of mind and gladness will be observed by others and will hopefully encourage them to be more involved in a life that is genuinely committed to serving God. This is what can produce such gladness and exultation!
Don't be fooled by thinking that anything else can bring a person such gladness and exultation. Anything else meaning red bendels, silver rings, handwriting analysis, a mezuza in your car, a palm reader who claims to foresee your future, or claims from someone who says they can direct your life or heal you with amulets, or anything else that you imagine is an instant miracle. This cannot create gladness and exultation. This is all false. There is only one way to serve God with gladness, through service and through the truths that we acquire in knowledge. There is only one way to have exultation before God, through truth and through service. "The feeling of steady and constant spiritual and moral growth, the continuous growth of all that is truly human in us, a blissful joy of life that is not subject to change in any manner by the outward circumstances which life may bring." Samson Raphael Hirsch, The Hirsch Psalms, pg. 195.

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