67. With Joy in Your Heart

K’sheim shemivarchin al hara, the same way you make a blessing on the bad, mevorchin al hatov, you make a blessing on the good. That’s the mishna (teaching). And the Gemara (Talmud) is troubled by the fact that it’s not true. There’s a different type of blessing that one makes on good news as opposed to bad news. On bad news you make a baruch Dayan Ha’Emes (blessed is the True Judge). On good news you make a very different sort of blessing. What does the mishna mean when it says the same berachah (blessing)?

Explains the Gemara, it doesn’t mean you make the same blessing, but rather you do it with the same joy in your heart. The same joy in your heart when you have good tidings, you have the same joy in your heart when you make the blessing about bad tidings. Both are done with simchah, with tremendous happiness.

And the Rambam is bothered by the obvious problem: How could the Gemara expect us to be happy about bad tidings? And how could they express the idea that we should have the same joy about bad news as we have about good news?

Explains the Rambam in Peirush Hamishnayos, if you’ll just study human history you’ll quickly understand exactly why this Gemara is true. He says how many times did it come out in your life that you saw something was going to happen and you said it’s the best thing in the world, and you hotly pursued it, only to find out that when you acquired that which you dreamt about it wasn’t so good at all? And two years later, five years later, you deeply regretted it. And how many times the opposite, did something befall you and you said it looked so bleak, it looked so black, it looked so terrible, and then six months later or two years later you found that not only wasn’t it bleak, but it was the best thing that happened to you.

Says the Rambam, study your life. You’ll see so many times that things that look so good really end up not being good at all, so many times that things look very, very bad and really turn out good. Explains the Rambam, when you study your own life, a thinking person will quickly realize we don’t understand. We don’t have the end game. When I trust that Hashem is guiding me, when the bad tidings are brought to me I know that Hashem has a plan, I know that Hashem understands what’s best for me, and I trust in my Creator. I say that berachah with joy in my heart, because I know that Hashem knows better than I what’s for my best. Maybe in this world, maybe in the world to come, but Hashem loves me, Hashem is deeply concerned for me, and Hashem is guiding me throughout life. And therefore I recognize this when I look at events. And I greet every event that happens with joy and happiness in my heart.