Michael and Alexander have much in common: they started the same job, the same day and in the same office. Yet, within days, their differences have surfaced and over time, they have made the two friends very different from each other.
From day one, Michael worked with a feeling of joy. According to him, the reasons were many to be happy: after spending several months looking for a job, the offer he had received made him very happy. In addition, even if the proposed salary was probably not very high, it had a distinct advantage: it could climb quickly if Michael will be successful in his new position. Therefore, it was an substantial income he hoped to achieve in a short time.
The atmosphere at the office was pleasant. As this happens in all places, some people were kind, while others froze you by just looking at you. From the beginning of his employment, Michael had decided to ignore the second kind of people and to sympathize - as much as possible - with the former. Why bother with people who do not want you to know?
The resolute and positive attitude Michael decided to have had quickly attracted the favor of all: his colleagues received him always with a smile, the service manager spoke to him regularly with a pleasant tone and even the chief business surprised him: Michael had been offered a important promotion, even if he did not work for many years in the company.
In less time than he had imagined at the beginning, Michael had acquired a substantial knowledge in his field and he became a person to whom everybody asked frequently advices. Only one year went since his first day in the office and Michael had made is company his second family. His colleagues did him well: they were always trying to please him, whenever the opportunity arose.
Meanwhile, Alexander was not so happy. He also had spent a long time unemployed, but he thought he deserved better than this unpretentious little job. It was really with a heavy heart that he had accepted that job: its overdraft at his bank and his wife's reproaches had been crucial to convince him to accept this job!
What particularly annoyed Alexander was the atmosphere that prevailed within the company: everyone seemed to lack a high intelligence and each person was doing his or her business without worrying about the welfare of his colleague. This egoism exasperated Alexander ; he had not forgotten that he came from such a warm family.
Also, Alexander had noticed the lack of kindness towards him from his colleagues. The more numerous and complex tasks become - and the more he needed advice - most employees seemed to shun his company! Taking this to heart, he felt offended and he almost didn't talk to his colleagues anymore. Soon, the atmosphere at the office became chilly.
When we serve Hashem, we must choose if we want to look like Michael or Alexander.
If we approach our divine Service with the right mood, we will move fast and we will find our task pleasant to perform. Also, our study will become easier and our newly acquired knowledge will be another reason to rejoice. Ultimately, we will quickly climb the levels and we will live with the wonderful feeling to become closer to the Creator, a little bit every day. What a pleasure!
However, if we serve G-d with a heavy soul, each obligation will seem to us cumbersome and difficult to perform. The others persons (in our synagogue, our community ...) will not seem to be able to help us so much to bring happiness in our heart. The days and years will go by instilling in us a bitter feeling that we do not belong to the group of people with which we live. Without knowing it, people who use this road are in a dangerous situation and the final destination of it is putting their life in danger, really.
Being joyous in serving Hashem is not a novelty of the 20th century. According to the Gemara, the prophets themselves couldn't have received their prophecy if they had they not been happy! Being joyful when we pray, when we study our holy Books - in other words, being Jewish - is essential to our survival in this modern world. Look around you: what a strong and contagious strength have happy people around us! At the same time, what would we not do to stay away from those who look sad!
Here is a topic for a prayer, for the rest of our life: ask the Master of the world to give us joy, the true one. This joy is what gives us wings and makes us want to fly in the sky to bring us closer to Hashem. "Master of the world! Help me to live with this joy, even if only one minute in my life! What would I not give to feel that joy in my heart! "