(Part I) Yom Kippur – Rejoicing (?) With Affliction

Rabbi Hadar Margolin teaches in many seminaries in Yerushalayim.
The main focus of his classes is – how to attain more simcha.
He has also authored several books on the topic.
Rabbi Margolin in collaboration with Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky has produced
the “Simcha Course” –
a lecture series on “Simcha”, with practical guidance on growing in this most crucial middah.
To see more on this, please click here.

I was but a young lad, perhaps 16 years of age, when I saw something in shul that changed my Yom Kippur experience of that year. The insight of the Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah that some anonymous fellow had hung up on the wall has continued to transform every Yom Kippur of mine since.
How do people approach YK? Let’s face it, it’s a difficult day. No eating or drinking for 24 hours is physically demanding. The Torah itself calls it a day of עינוי (affliction). Certainly, it would seem, NOT something to look forward to, or to rejoice with. No need to elaborate; everyone who has experienced a YK knows what I’m talking about.
A simple insight of the Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah changed this perspective.
He writes, that a person should rejoice with the difficulty.
Because it’s hard.
Because a person gets more reward for doing a mitzvah when it’s a challenge, when he has to overcome difficulty.
Because Hashem cherishes especially those who do mitzvos when they have to contend with hardship.
After all, how many chances do we have during the year to do a mitzvah that is really hard? Such an opportunity, when we have it, should be treasured!
Further, he says: the more difficult it gets, the more pleasure Hashem gets from us; hence, the more one should rejoice! Towards the end of the day, when it starts to get really tough, one should think: I wish this could continue another few hours! (P.S. is that what you were thinking last year?)
Now, the ironical insight:
Two people standing near each other in shul, late afternoon of YK. One is looking at his watch ticking the minutes ever so slowly, thinking: “when will it be over already?” The other one is with a heart full of simcha, grateful for the experience he is privileged having. Which one of them will end up eating first?
The answer is illuminating – neither. They’re in the same shul, finishing together.
The only difference is, that one has had a grudging approach to YK, and the other has had a wonderful spiritual experience, and is fulfilling the mitzvah in its full grandeur – בשמחה ובטוב לבב, with tremendous simcha and gratitude. And, of course, with much more reward from Hashem.
Which type of YK experience would you like to have?