I couple of days ago I wrote a small post about a shiur (class) I’d just listened to that was actually quite excellent. Yup, I listened to the whole thing! I know, it’s unbelievable.
Anyway, it’s called “Why be Jewish” by Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky and at the end (I’m gonna wreck it for you right now but it’s still worth listening to) he said that according to the book Mesilat Yesharim (The Path of the Just) by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the point of life is for us to have pleasure. And the greatest pleasure is to be close to HaShem.
Can we just focus on the first part of the answer for a moment? The point is to enjoy? To have pleasure? I definitely don’t remember learning that in Hebrew school. Oh, I mean, day school. Anyway I had a further discussion with someone about this and he said, in regards to his job, that the most important thing is that he’s having fun. ???? Really? And honestly, his explanation made sense to me. I will explain how I understand it.
We can put our heart and soul into something in life but we can never know how it will turn out. So we may as well be enjoying the process! Also, we need to keep at it (whatever “it” is) in order to allow there to be potential of “success” (whatever that is) so allowing the process to be enjoyable (instead of worrying all the time, will it even succeed) allows us to persue our goals/dreams.
Second, we are much more productive and creative when we’re getting pleasure out of what we’re doing. I understand from this the importance of trying to do something that is really part of you (for me, my writing).
How does that fit with the quote from Mesilat Yesharim? I suppose that when you’re doing something you really enjoy, it’s actually your soul saying that it’s being fulfilled in this world – that is the pleasurable feeling we get – and that is one of the ways to get closer to Hashem. Is that logical?
I still have issues with this. It does seem frivilous, but I can see how maybe it is the truth.
The post from two days ago includes a link to the class.