Chazak Chazak Venitchazek! Bring happiness to others

The verdict is in: the surest path to success us to help someone else succeed.


To find happiness, bring happiness to others.
To gain strength, strengthen others.
To attain wisdom, teach someone.

For anyone who has ever been in a vulnerable place or in a vulnerable time, you know that feeling. Someone in a comfortable place in life, with a cushy existence, comes down to your unhappy place to see how you're doing and you can tell that despite everything they have, they're unhappy because you're unhappy and they won't be happy until you are.

This is the essence of caring. It's the wisdom of kindness. It's easy to process the idea that the key to happiness is to provide it others; it's quite another thing to actually feel it, to find it impossible to be content while your friend is foundering. And people blessed with that brilliance of the heart are the ones who spread happiness to find happiness. Because that's the only way.

Chazak Chazak Venitchazek!

Five times a year, every time we reach the end of one of the five books of the Torah, shuls around the world make a common declaration, calling out in unison, "Chazak Chazak Venitchazek!" "Be strong! Be strong! And we will be strong!"

In English there is no grammatical difference between saying "be strong" to one person or to a group. But in Hebrew there is. When speaking to an individual, you say "Chazak!" But to a group you say, "Chizku!"

And yet here, when we call out to each other in shul, we use the singular "Chazak", and then conclude with the plural, "And we will be strong." Curious, no?

The meaning of it is the above-mentioned truth: as long as there is even one individual struggling and weak, we who are blessed cannot be strong either. To be strong, we have to make sure we are all strong. So having in mind (and in heart) the individuals amongst us who are having a rough time of it, we encourage them and cheer them on: Dear friend, be strong, be strong! And (only then) we will also be strong."

On Shabbat morning, as we conclude a book of the Torah, we will make this declaration once again. Only this time, we'll mean it a little deeper: Your strength is not a conflict to mine. Your happiness is not in competition with mine. Your success is not detrimental to my own. Your strength IS my strength. Your happiness IS my happiness. And your success IS my success.

Envy and resentment have no place in our lives or minds. What we want, we want for everyone. Chazak, Chazak, Venitchazek!

Your strength is not a conflict to mine.
Your happiness is not in competition with mine.
Your success is not detrimental to my own.
Your strength IS my strength.
Your happiness IS my happiness.
And your success IS my success.
Envy and resentment have no place
in our lives or minds.
What we want, we want for everyone.
Chazak, Chazak, Venitchazek!

Rabbi Zalman Mendelson
Chabadwyoming.com