A true test of simcha is when we can find a ‘pocket’ of simcha at a time of distress. According to the Ner Yisrael commentary on Tehillim, being grateful when one has lost a lot of money is a sign that one’s life was in danger and has been saved. When we can transform our difficulty to dance, we can be reassured that we have acquired the trait of simcha.
The Ohr Samaech ztk’l taught that unhappy people need to look at their situation with fresh eyes. We are to learn to appreciate what we have and not focus on what we think we should have. The art of simcha is the process of finding new perspective upon what is, not acquiring more of what we think ought to be. The key is to see the larger picture without changing the reality of facts.
Sefer Bereishis writes, “Hamin HaEtz asher Tziviticha … Achalta? (Have you eaten of the tree…?)” Chazal elucidates on this verse and tell us that this hints to Haman (Hamin is very close to the word Haman). Haman symbolizes evilness and temptation of this world. The transgression of Adam and Chava was caused by the snake who wished to lure them into idolatry, separating them from Hashem. Haman sought to entice the Jewish people into idolatry by asking them to bow down to him. The intention by both was the same; to cause a weakening in our G-dly connection.
Great joy is found in Purim as this festive holiday offers us a grand opportunity to return back to our G-dliness at a time of trouble. That is why we are instructed to increase our happiness even before Purim begins at the beginning of the month Adar; before we actually experience the ‘end’ to our troubles. We are to see our situation with ‘happy eyes’ even though our reality appears dreary and hopeless. The yeshua is coming; even if we don’t immediately see it. It is all in the eyes.