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    As we approach closer
    and closer to the Day
    of Judgment, we are
    earnestly trying to find
    ways to upgrade our
    mitzvah output for
    the coming year. We
    understand that in order
    to make a strong case for
    a better New Year, we
    need to show Hashem how we are going to be
    better. I’d like to share with you an idea on
    how to swell our mitzvah total exponentially.
    The Orchos Tzadikim, one of the pillars of
    mussar study, writes the following powerful
    rule: A mitzvah done with happiness and joy
    is worth a thousand times more in the eyes
    of Hashem than a mitzvah performed as a
    burden, as something that needs to be checked
    off a to-do list. This means that we can
    convert a routine mitzvah into a bonanza of
    one thousand mitzvahs with a correction and
    alteration of our attitude.
    Chazal give us the directive, “Ivdu es
    Hashem b’simcha – Serve Hashem with joy.”
    A professional recruiter will tell you that
    one of the things they look for before hiring
    a potential employee is to see whether they
    enjoy their work. After all, a happy worker
    is a more productive worker. Hashem wants
    us to be happy constituents. The great B’hag

    counts the mitzvah of being happy as one of
    the 613 mitzvahs. He bases this on the verse,
    “V’samachta b’chol hatov asher nosan l’cha
    Hashem Elokecha ul’veisecha – You should
    rejoice with all of the good that Hashem has
    given to you and to your household.”
    I once heard the great Rabbi Noach Weinberg,
    zt”l, zy”a, ask, “Why do we need a mitzvah
    to be happy? Happiness is the universal
    quest.” He profoundly answered that there
    are two novelties in this Torah command.
    Firstly, as being happy is an official mitzvah,
    it means that everyone – no matter their life
    circumstances – can attain happiness, for
    Hashem does not ask from anyone what they
    cannot do. Secondly, since it is a mitzvah to be
    happy, it falls within the purview of the yeitzer
    hara, the evil inclination, to thwart us from its
    fulfillment. If it wouldn’t be a mitzvah, the
    yeitzer hara wouldn’t get involved. But now
    that simcha is a Torah command, like by any
    other mitzvah, the yeitzer hara tries to frustrate
    us from fulfilling it. This explains why we see
    so many unhappy people walking around. By
    striving to do our mitzvahs with a happy zest,
    we can make an excellent case to Hashem
    that we plan on multiplying our mitzvahs a
    thousand fold.
    We must know that it is natural to be
    happy when fulfilling the mitzvahs, as the
    verse declares, “Pikudei Hashem yesharim,

    m’samchei lev – The commandments of
    Hashem are upright and they gladden the
    heart.” It’s only the yeitzer hara that fools
    us and makes us think that we have so many
    better things to do. For example, the yeitzer
    hara tell us to daven our minchas and maarivs
    quickly so we can run to get on with the
    business of life!
    Rav Eliyahu Rota, zt”l, zy”a, once asked
    a kollel yungerman if he would agree not
    to put on tefillin one day in exchange for a
    hundred thousand shekalim. When the man
    answered quickly, “Of course not,” Rav
    Rota persisted, “What about for a million?”
    When the yungerman once again insisted
    that he wouldn’t do it for all of the money
    in the world, Rav Rota turned the tables and
    said, “Then when you do put on the tefillin,
    you should feel happier than if you received
    a million shekalim.” This is indeed the
    sentiment of the verse, “Tov li Toras picha,
    mei’alfei zahav v’chesed – It is better for me,
    the Torah of Your mouth, than thousands of
    coins of gold and silver.”
    It’s been said that the letters of the word
    b’simcha, in happiness, are the same letters
    as the word machshava, thought, because
    happiness depends on one’s attitude. If we
    work on realizing that acts of kivud av v’eim,
    honoring our parents, or v’simach es ishto,
    gladdening our wives, or nosan titen, giving

    tzedaka give us endless years of bliss in the
    world to come, we will be happier than if we
    had won the lottery.
    In the merit of trying to do our mitzvahs
    joyfully, may Hashem bless us with a sweet
    New Year of good health, happiness, and
    everything wonderful.