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Simcha shel Mitzvah


March 21, 2014

20 Adar II 5774


Candle Lighting: 6:42 p.m.

This Shabbat - Please join us at 9:15 a.m. for Torah Yoga led by Jackie Gadd.




Dear Friends:

Many Bar and Bat Mitzvah students suffer from PBL (Post Bar/Bat Mitzvah Letdown) after their simcha. They spend many months, if not years, preparing for their special day and approach it with excitement and anticipation. The day after the service, however, their excitement disappears and they feel a void in their lives. It is as if a major component of their raison d'�tre has been stolen.

One would think that Aaron and his sons would have experienced PBL on the last day of the ceremony at which they were ordained as Kohanim (Priests). The Torah describes the ceremony as an eight day event filled with elaborate rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices. They received colorful priestly vestments and the accolades of their fellow Israelites. One would think that when all was said and done, they must have experienced a tinge of sadness.

The Midrash tells otherwise. The Torah states: "Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them; and he stepped down after offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the offering of well being." (Lev. 9:22)

Our Sages asked: "Isn't it obvious that Aaron would step down from the altar after he finished offering the sacrifices? Why does the Torah need to tell us this?"

They answered: "What the Torah means is: even when Aaron stepped down from the altar he was still filled with joy. (Torah Kohanim) This teaches us than not only do we need to feel joy when we perform a mitzvah, as it is written, 'Worship Adonai in gladness' (Psalm 112), but we need to feel joy after we perform a mitzvah because as Aaron, we have fulfilled the Will of the Holy One. Furthermore, if we are to rejoice after completing a mitzvah, how much more should we rejoice when we anticipate performing a mitzvah! In short, we should spend our entire lives rejoicing!"

Rabbi Aharon HaGadol added: "Simcha (being joyous) is not a mitzvah, but it is the heart and foundation of all mitzvot." (Min HaTorah, Shemini)

Although it is natural to feel a void in one's life after reaching a goal, our tradition suggests that the sweetness of success and of performing mitzvot and good deeds should remain with us afterwards. We should always strive to find joy and happiness in our lives and to create joy and happiness in the lives of those around us. The simcha we feel and create will motivate us to continually set our sights upon new mitzvot to perform and goals to reach.

Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal 
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
San Diego, CA 92119 

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Candle Lighting: 6:42 p.m.

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 6:15 p.m.

Morning Service: 9:15 a.m.
Zachary Levenson will celebrate becoming a
Bar Mitzvah
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