In light of this most recent plague that has come upon the world, I was assailed by thoughts before mincha the other day.
Chazal say in the gemoro in Brochos through a very long list of examples of stars and galaxies that Hashem loves Klal Yisroel so much He created all these things just for us. Contained in this are secrets pertaining to astrology and how Hashem influences the world through the celestial bodies. The ikar however is that Hashem creates everything in the world, whether for good or for apparent bad, specifically for Klal Yisroel. It says in Parshas Ki Savo a list of curses, and that we will receive them for not serving Hashem with happiness and goodness of heart. Rabbeinu Bechaye brings there that to serve Hashem with simcha is in itself a mitzvah, and therefore when we do not serve Hashem with joy and good heartedness we get double punishment. I do not wish for this to come across as a drosho of a certain “rabbi”, however I feel this is important to say and hence I shall. Doing mitzvos without joy is bad. That does not mean you shouldn’t do a mitzvah if you don’t feel happy from doing it, quite the opposite, you must do it in order to break the yetzer hara and the klippah that surrounds you and prevents you from fulfilling mitzvos with simcha, as is supported by the sifrei chassidus. What I mean to encourage is that we should all do each mitzvah with a true happiness, to genuinely work towards happiness in avodas Hashem.
The valid question one should ask is, “How?” The answer in short is through asking Hashem for help in this before each mitzvah you do. Hashem wants us to talk to Him, he especially loves the tefillos of tzaddikim and it says in the posuk “ameich kulom tzaddikim,” your whole people are tzaddikim. When you take five seconds before davening Mincha and say the L’Shem Yichud, and have in mind your own kavannah that you should daven this Mincha b’simcha, this then leads Hashem to help you daven with simcha, as Chazal say “k’shem sh’ish makdishin oso m’at makdishin oso harbeh, m’l’mato m’kadshin oso m’l’maalo”, when a person sanctifies himself a little bit he becomes sanctified a lot, from below he becomes sanctified from above. This principle applies to all avodah, when you put forth that extra effort, that kavannah, that yearning for simcha in avodas Hashem, you’ll gain help from Shomayim in fulfilling this wonderful mitzvah.
Hashem should help us be m’kayem all the mitzvos b’simcha, and we should be zoche to the geulah shleima bimheira v’yomeinu.