Rebbe Nachman said many times that the essential tool in ascending in Avodas Hashem is simcha, real joy. So much of what the rebbe taught was advice how to bring joy into our lives. Now, especially, that we’ve entered the month of Adar, where the Talmud says that we need to increase our joy, we’re all wondering how can we do it.
Reb Nosson (Hilchos Mincha 7:53) seems to have a very systematic approach to it. He says there are four essential ways to bring joy into our lives, no matter what the situation. These four ideas are an aspect of the tetragrammaton, the primary name of Hashem, י-ה-ו-ה.
The essential reason to be joyous, as the Rebbe told over in the story of the sad tzaddik is to remember that we merited to be Jewish. This is the essence of joy. As unpolitically correct as it is, we believe that we merited greatly to land this great fortune. Why is this the essential reason? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with our choice, or anything we earned and achieved. No matter what, that’s who we are, and it’s fitting to dance 1000 years for that reason alone. This is symbolically referenced in the י (yud) of Hashem’s name, as the Talmud says (Menachos 29b), the י refers to the ‘world to come’, the world of the tzaddikim, because the י is the smallest letter and there are few tzaddikim. But all of Israel has an aspect of the tzaddim as it says, (Isaiah 6:21) “And [the people of] your nation are all tzaddikim“. That’s why we’re called Jews, or Yehudim, because we’re are all yuds, or yidden.
The next way to add to our joy is by remembering that we merited to connect to the real tzaddikim. This is represented by the first ה of Hashem’s name, because ה represents bina, which is the mechanism of how we understand Hashem’s greatness. This is the job of the true tzaddikim. They put into our minds words of bina that help us understand how great Hashem is, which increases our desire to have a relationship with Him.
The third reason to be joyous is by recognizing that even we have good points ourselves, as the rebbe stressed in the famous lesson 282. It must be that we’ve done something good in our lives. By searching for even the smallest good points and slowly building on them, we can attain joy. This is represented by the ו in Hashem’s name, because the ו means to add, alluding to the process of adding another good point followed by another good point until we can recognize our essential greatness and return wholeheartedly to Hashem.
Finally, these three reasons can bring us enough joy to do a good thing right now, which is represented by the final ה of Hashem’s name, the letter representing action (malchus) in this world.
The common denominator of these four ways is simply recognizing the truth. The truth is always there. We spend too much of our life unconscious and unaware of the great gifts that we have. Just recognizing what we are, where we come from, what we’ve done and what we can do truly accomplish can bring us the essence of hope and joy. Amen!