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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 20, 2006 /20 Teves, 5766

Healthy souls are lovesick

By Rabbi David Aaron


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The endless joy in endless discontent

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Moses encountered in the desert the burning bush that miraculously was not consumed and heard the voice of G-d he turned away not to look. He was afraid he had found G-d and that his spiritual journey and search would be over. A true spiritual seeker never wants to find G-d he wants to feel that he is always finding G-d and there is always more to find.


A verse in the Psalms reads, "Happy is the heart of the one who seeks G-d." It does not say who finds G-d. Why? Because you can never find G-d. In fact, if G-d could be found then you would be eternally depressed.


Fortunately, the soul's desire for G-d can never be fulfilled. The soul's joy is to always be seeking G-d but never quite finding G-d. This guarantees that the journey of love will never end. There is so much joy to a soul lovesick for G-d. As soon as we feel close we feel far and thankfully the journey goes on forever. In other words, as soon as you think you have found love you have actually lost it because love is not a thing you acquire but an endless journey you take.


If a couple one morning wakes up and say to each other, "Hey, you know what we did. I love you and you love me!" then that would be the end of their marriage. The miracle of love and the beauty of love is that there is no end to the depth of love. We can love each other more and more every day. Love is not a destiny it is a journey   —  an endless journey. This goes all the more so in our love for G-d.


The Prophets teach that in the future there will be a hunger and thirst in the world but not for bread and water but for G-d. One of my teachers explained that when you are hungry for bread you feel empty but when you are hungry for G-d you feel full. The soul is satiated by its' hunger for G-d. There is so much joy in the anticipation for getting closer and closer forever.


Therefore, when we hear the voice of our soul, our inner self, yearning to connect with G-d we experience intense sadness. Embracing this sadness is the key to happiness.

The Key to Happiness
It takes maturity and courage to be willing to acknowledge and feel the pain of the soul pining for G-d. Most of us think there is something wrong with us if we are unhappy. We feel guilty over our discontentment and quickly look for a painkiller. But in truth this pain is the source of great pleasure. When you embrace the soul's pain it turns into pleasure. When you understand the true meaning of this sadness you are happy. In fact, you realize that your sadness is a sign of your spiritual greatness and wellness because it comes from a deep yearning to come closer and closer to G-d. Then you discover that in a paradoxical way there is great joy in your sadness. Very often we are depressed not because we are not happy but because we are not sad. We are afraid to feel the sadness of our soul. Depression makes us livid but the sadness of the soul longing for G-d makes us alive. It is invigorating and motivating.


When we awaken to our thirst for G-d we discover that our thirst can never be quenched because we can never be completely united with G-d. There is always the possibility for more spiritual growth and a deeper connection. Mysteriously in the spiritual life the more full we feel the more empty we feel. The more connected I feel to G-d the more disconnected I feel when I realize how much more connected I could be. Just as soon as I feel whole with G-d I feel this huge hole in my life missing G-d. In the spiritual life to feel whole means to be constantly filling the hole in your life with more and more communion with G-d. And the more you fill it the bigger is gets.

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If all I really want out of life is designer jeans, tickets to Madonna and to drive a Ferrari then it is really no big deal if I don't get what I want. None of these leave a gaping hole in my soul. I am not missing much because it is not really a lot that I am asking for. In addition, such desires can be accomplished. But when I tap into my soul's desire and yearning for a connection to G-d then what I am really asking for is to connect with the one who is Endless. The thirst for G-d can never be quenched because it is an endless thirst for the Endless One. Our love for G-d is endless   —  it can never be achieved. Thank G-d.


Ego trips end but spiritual journeys never end.


We often get depressed because we deny the sadness of our soul and run from it's painful longing for meaning and G-d. Before we can be happy we need to learn how to be sad otherwise we are on the road to depression.


People frantically run from the sadness of their soul seeking happiness. Most forms of fun, entertainment and amusement are really simply painkillers. They are part of the great escape from the sadness of the soul. When you go to a doctor with something hurting you he can give you an aspirin to stop the pain. If the pain is too great for aspirin then he can give you cocaine. But even though you don't feel the pain you are still unhealthy. A truly healthy soul is one who is lovesick for meaning and G-d. But people look for painkillers to stop the pain and drown out the sadness of their crying soul yearning for G-d. Because they are afraid to be sad they run for distractions.


I know this from experience. For years I ran from the sadness of my soul. I threw myself into comedy and rock and roll. They were my religion. I once heard a comedian say that as long as you keep laughing you will never get an ulcer. So that's what I did. And he was right. I got a hernia. Just kidding. I adopted as my philosophy for life the lyrics of a popular song at the time that went: Gimme the beat boys and free my soul I want to get off on your rock and roll and drift away. I recall one rock album I especially loved that had on the cover the following advice: For best results play at full blast! But what were the results that I was seeking? I wanted enough noise and distraction in my life to drown out my crying soul. But the louder the music the louder my soul cried out. So the louder I turned up the music.


People confuse painlessness with happiness. But the key to happiness is to embrace the sadness of the soul's endless craving for meaning and G-d. Within this sadness lies the greatest happiness.


The soul cries for meaning. We long for G-d. We long to belong to the One who is beyond and yet mysteriously manifest within ourselves. We want to be part of a greater picture and we want to feel that we are playing a role serving a greater theme. But most people run from this sadness rather than stop and listen carefully. They turn up the volume on their CD rather than make music out of their soul's longing.


I once read a story about the life of a king. Upon wakening in the morning he is serenaded by a musical quartet. While eating he is entertained by the court jester. Every night he throws a royal ball and dances with the fairest of maidens into the night. The king is constantly bombarded with stimulus to keep him happy. Otherwise in just one quiet moment without the joker and the music playing he would suddenly hear his crying soul.


This is the strategy of most people. They try to fill their lives with distractions to make them happy and protect them from feeling the emptiness and sadness in their soul. They opt for a disco or a drink or a reefer or a movie to get happy. But this kind of happiness is truly sad and this kind of fulfillment is truly empty.


If you just run for fun then you're done. Depression is often not because we are not able to be happy but because we are not willing to be sad. Before a depressed person can be happy he must first acknowledge his soul's sadness   —  longing for G-d. When a drug addict beats his addiction he has not solved his problem rather he has now succeeded in getting rid of that which distracted him from dealing with the real problems that he was running from. Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders are not problems they are really cover-ups to problems. Once you kick the habit the real work starts.


The key to spiritual health is to be forever lovesick for G-d - to always aspire to go higher and higher.


               — For more on this topic see The Secret Life of G-d: Discovering the Divine Within You

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JWR contributor Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.



© 2005, Rabbi David Aaron