Indeed, Moshe talked a lot about the Tochachah – the warnings and curses which are the result of not listening to HaShem. But what exactly does “not listening to HaShem” mean? There is no mention, of specific sins here. Or is there?
Let’s take a close look at Moshe’s words:
“Because you did not serve HaShem with joy and a good heart, from an abundance of all, instead you will serve your enemies.”
We can read this to mean:
“Because you did not serve HaShem during joyous and happy times,” things will become unhappy.
But it can also mean something different:
“Because you did not serve HaShem with happiness,” things will become unhappy.
In other words, the reason for all the terrible curses is because we were not serving HaShem with joy and inspiration!
Indeed, time and again here in the Book of Devarim, Moshe talks about the importance of serving HaShem with joy.
Now what makes “joy” so very important?!
Simple! If you’re happy, joyous and passionate about His Torah and Mitzvos it shows HaShem how much you appreciate Him and all He has done for us!
In addition, joy is the secret ingredient that makes learning Torah and performing Mitzvos… EASY!
To illustrate this point, here’s a Shazak Conversation Scenario:
One day Berel and Shmerel were talking.
“How’s work, my dear friend Berel?”
“Work?! You may call it work, Shmerel, but to me, I call it a pleasure! After all, I’m hired by the Kosher Restaurant Magazine, to review the latest dishes in Kosher restaurants all over the city. I love food, and I love writing. How can I not enjoy my work?”
“True indeed! A wise man once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Now, how about you, Shmerel? Tell me. How do you do it?”
Well, you wake up at the crack of dawn to learn Torah. And then off you go to work at the fancy-shmancy gourmet “Pickles R’ Us” store? Not an easy job! That pickle-place is packed with pickle loving customers! Yet, every spare moment you have, you are running to do Mitzvos and learn Torah. How do you keep at it – day in, day out? What a burden!”
“Burden, you say?! It’s not a burden! I love learning HaShem’s Torah! It’s totally fascinating, and on top of it, it’s a Mitzvah! And Shmerel, how can I not perform Mitzvos with joy? After all, all 613 Mitzvos are from HaShem… written in His Torah!
Bottom line: Rejoicing in HaShem’s Torah and Mitzvos is the key to success.
Perhaps this is Moshe’s message, “To be safe from any and all 98 curses, BE JOYOUS and celebrate HaShem’s Torah!”