You, G-d, Have Supported Me with Joy ©
Psalms 30:12

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This essay study is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Belk, may she rest in peace.

Dovid Ha Meleck, in his Tehillim, Psalms, noted by scholars as the dedication for the Bais Ha Mikdosh, the Holy Temple, stated:

You {G-d} have turned my mourning into dancing...

You {G-d} have loosened my sackcloth...

and {You, G-d, have} supported me with joy.

My mind grasped and attached itself to the phrase " {You, G-d, have} supported me with joy." Knowing that it is our obligation to emulate Hashem I wondered, "How does one support with joy? What are the guidelines? What steps does one follow?" It is important to know. After carefuly considering this subject I categorized over twenty areas that one can use to support with joy. There are many more...

The company one keeps or avoids often reveals the type of person one is. The same can be said for words. As a result we will divide the word sim chah into two categories. The leading category will be patterned after the first occurrence of sim chah in the Torah, in Genesis 31:27, and the following category will be patterned after Deuteronomy 28:47.

Category One: The Company One Keeps Brings Joy
These are situations we can implement to bring joy...

The Place / Presence Where Hashem is Felt Brings Joy
- Hashem's presence is normally felt in holy places, near holy articles, etc. Therefore it only makes sense to take the one you love to places that will bring joy. "Hashem, your G-d is in your midst, the mighty one who will save! He will rejoice over you with joy! He will be silent with his love. He will joy over you with singing, Zeph. 3:17. "G-d gives to man that which is good in His sight; wisdom, knowledge, and joy..." Eccl. 2:26.

Aliyah To Yisroel - Every day Jews from around the world do Aliyah, return to the Holy Land of Yisroel to study, pray, worship, work live! It goes without saying, those that return to Yisroel to live receive great joy...

You shall go out with joy, and in peace you shall arrive {in Yisroel}: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isa. 55:12

Visiting Israel (Tzion) Brings Joy - Every day visitors kiss the ground of Israel. It is holy and very special. Many sing Ha-Tikvah, the Jewish national anthem, upon arriving. There are hundreds and hundreds of tours in Israel for all these guests. There is so much to see and do. Visiting Israel brings much joy... "From the garden of Hashem {Tzion} shall come forth joy, thanksgiving, the voice of melody and gladness shall be found there," Isaiah 51:3.

The Bais Ha Mikdash (The Western Wall) - Every year millions of people from around the world visit the Western Wall as pictured on our welcome page. To us, this is the holiest place in the world. People come to pray, to cry and to leave notes in the cracks of the wall for themselves and loved ones. There are sites on the internet that provide live, twenty-four hour surveillance of the Western Wall. Other sites offer to place emailed or faxed prayers in the cracks of the Wall. This brings many great joy!
(G-d willing, my wife and I someday should be able to go to this place.)

Within the Holy Temple Dovid Ha Meleck requested that singers be appointed who should lift up their voice with joy and musicians be appointed to accompany the singers playing instruments of music, psalteries, harps and cymbals. 1Chr. 15:16

Soldiers Returning Safely Home from War Brings Joy
Writing Joyful Songs of Praise and Victory Brings Joy
- In Tenach we read after Dovid (the young man) had killed Goliath, {1Sam. 18:6}, 'When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. When they danced they sang, "Saul has killed his thousands, and Dovid his tens of thousands."

Joy is Associated with Songs and Musical Instruments - When Yaakov has fled from his evil father in law Lavan. When Lavan learns that Yaakov has fled with his two daughters, grandchildren, servants, cattle, etc. he is angry. He, his sons and their servants pursue Yaakov until they overtake him. Then Lavan states to Yaakov, "Why did you flee away secretly? You robbed me and did not tell me. I would have sent you away with joy, and with songs, with drum, and with harp."

There are Prescribed Times for Joy - The many Festivals even the solemn ones like Yom Kippur, The Seventeenth of Tammuz and Tish B' Av still bring joy. "In the days of joy, solemn days, Rosh Chodesh {we are instructed to} blow the trumpets" over our offerings and sacrifices, Numbers 10:10.

Affliction of the Body, Fasting Brings Joy - "Hashem of Legions says: The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and for happy feasts..." Zephaniah 8:19.

Hearing and Understanding the Torah Brings Joy - Attending shul on Shabbos or a Yom Tov to hear the Torah read brings feelings of great joy. Listening to the neggun of Av Haw Rah Cha Mim as the Aron Kodesh is opened, watching as the Torah is removed and hearing theChazzan call out She Mah Yisroel... All of this brings joy Shabbos after Shabbos after Shabbos. "All the people went their way to eat, to drink, to send portions, and to make great joy, because they understood the words that were told to them, Neh. 8:12."

Charity Brings Joy - Giving opens up space in the heart.

Reading / Studying the Bible Brings Great Joy - This is a great way to receive the rays of Hashem's divine love.

Seeing a Friend or Relative Brings Joy - My mother was ill for a long time hunderds of miles away. We prayed Tehillim every day, sent cards and flowers and did what we could. Thank G-d she recovered enough to leave the hospital. When she returned home I cannot express the feeling of joy that we had. In a similar way Aron and Moshe were excited to see each other after forty years of separation. Hashem told Moshe that his brother Aron would experience joy when he {Aron} saw him {Moshe} coming to meet him. Exodus 4:14

Meekness Brings Joy - Those who are meek, who are easily imposed upon without complaint, those who are patient, humble and gentle because of their kind deeds will increase their joy in Hashem, Isaiah 29:19.

Counselors of Peace Bring Joy - Assisting another human being in making a safe, careful decision gives special satisfaction to the giver and receiver. "For those who counsel peace there is joy," Proverbs 12:20

Uprightness Brings Joy - Joy is sown for the upright, the fair, just, the clean, the honest, the ethical, the moral, the honorable, the aboveboard, the trustworthy, the conscientious, the scrupulous, the principled, the virtuous and the respectable, in heart who rejoice, Ps. 97:11. "It is joy to the just to do judgment," Prov. 21:15.

Blessings from Bread and Wine Bring Joy - "Go your way. Eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a joyful heart; for G-d accepts your labors," Eccl. 9:7.

Acts We Are Commanded to Observe Bring Joy - "Hashem says; Sing Yaakov with joy, with gladness, exult on the peaks of the nations, publish , praise , and say, O Hashem, save Your people, the remnant of Yisroel, Jer. 31:7. The redeemed of Hashem shall return, and come with singing to Tzion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away, Isa. 51:11."

Category Two: The Company One Avoids Brings Joy

The Voice of Joy is Associated With: - "The voice of the bridegroom and the voice of gladness..."Jer. 25:10 A chasana (a Jewish wedding) at that point in time is about the most joyful place on earth."The voice of the bride, and the voice of them that shall say, Praise Hashem of legions: for Hashem is good; for His mercy endures eternally...Those that bring the sacrifices of praise into the house of Hashem..." Jer. 33:11.

Harvest Brings Joy - Rejoicing like people at harvest time

The Spoils of War Bring Joy - Exulting like people who divide the plunder of war

Freedom from Slavery Brings Joy - Rejoicing like a person freed from the burden of slavery

Removing Oppression Brings Joy - Rejoicing like a person who observes his oppressors destroyed never to bother him again...

Destruction of Oppressive Tools Brings Joy - Like a person who observes the tools of oppression destroyed...

Next we move to Isaiah where in the Tenach we read the Assyrian army was reminiscent of the miracle granted Gideon and his few troops against Midian in Judges 7,8. This was an overwhelming victory for Yisroel. We read examples of joy, "The nation that walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelled in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shone upon them. You {G-d} exalted the nation; You {G-d} increased its joy. They rejoice before You like {people rejoice at the} harvest, as they would exult when they divide the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, You smashed the yoke that burdened them, the bar that set across their shoulders and the rod that oppressed them....You consumed with fire all the garments of war." This story provides us with vivid examples of joy.

In conclusion the occurrence of the word sim chah is even more revealing in parshas Ki Savo where Kal Yisroel is informed that there are two paths to choose from. The first path is one of blessings {Deut. 28:1-14}. The second path is one of curses {Deut. 28:15-69}.

"All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you have not obeyed Hashem your G-d, to guard His commandments and His statutes that He commanded you. They will happen as a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. Because you did not serve Hashem your G-d with joy and goodheartedness in the time of {total} prosperity."

It is a Mitzvah to Serve Hashem with Joy and Goodheartedness
Here we learn that it is a command to serve Hashem with joy and goodheartedness.
Notice that sim chah dwells with goodheartedness as well as all of the aforementioned attributes.

Story of the Man Who Wanted to Know About Suffering
There was a man who wanted to know about suffering. He traveled near and far to learn about suffering. Eventually he ended up in a small town in Europe speaking with the Rav. He asked the Rav, "Rav,Please explain, what was it like to suffer?"

The Rav responded, "I don't know. But, I know who does. Go see Shlomo. He is a very poor shlepper. Shlomo has never had a day of peace in his entire life. His wife is so mean and cruel to him. He knows what it's like."

The man traveled to Shlomo's home. He knocked on the door. Shlomo answered, "Yes?"

The traveler said, "I'm seeking Shlomo. "

Shlomo responded in a very kind, soft tone, "I'm Shlomo. How can I help you?"

The traveler questioned, "Can you tell me, what is it like to suffer?"

Shlomo answered in a very calm, steady voice, assuring the traveler, "I don't know. I have never had a bad day in my life."

This story of Shlomo typifies goodness of the heart. Goodheartedness lacks malice, hatred, anger, bitterness, revenge, selfishness and other such poor traits. Since sim chah dwells with goodheartednesss it is void of these traits.

Learning / practicing a few of these simple examples will enable each of us to emulate Hashem by supporting with joy.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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