The Highest Pleasure
Avraham Tzvi Schwartz

What is the highest pleasure? Where, when and how are we the happiest?

This is not a child's question. We can't answer it by saying, "When I eat ice-cream" or "when I am at the beach". To change these words to something like "when I win the jackpot" or "when ten thousand people applaud me", is also not enough. For in answering this question properly, we have an opportunity, an excellent opening to find the attitude and mindset we need to live at the highest of levels. 

So let's ask the question again. What is the highest pleasure? In which way can we live happily ever after?

Now to escape hardship is not possible. Each one of us has his own parcel of problems. Therefore, instead of avoiding problems, we have, somehow, to tackle them. Instead of wishing they would disappear, we need to make them a part of the pleasure. Somehow, we have to program ourselves to look at life's difficulties as a challenge -- even as "fun". Here is an example of an "attitude formula":

"Thank You Hashem, for the troubles in my life, for through them I learn to come closer to You -- Master of Creation -- Source of all pleasure and goodness."

   Pleasurable Problems

We believe our problems are good for us. They help us develop. If we use the opportunity they give us in the right way, they help us grow. As such, we should accept them graciously. Moreover, we should even take in pleasure in our problems...

"One minute, please, you say we should take PLEASURE from our problems?"

The solution lies however, in strengthening our commitment to personal improvement. As refined as we are, we need to become more refined. As disciplined as we are, we need to strive for higher levels of control. We may think calmly, we may be happy with our everyday, but we can improve these areas as well. We can become more, much more, than we are right now.

If this is where we are holding then our problems are welcome. For they serve as indicators, measures of how well we are doing. For example, if I'm working on controlling my anger, then an event that provokes anger can show me how strong I am, how much progress I have made. It is my speedometer on the road to self-perfection. Surely then I should take pleasure in it?

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