There were once two boys who went ice-skating on a frozen lake in their neighborhood. As they were enjoying themselves, the ice suddenly cracked, and one of the boys fell through into the icy water. His friend started frantically reaching for him, but he was too late, and the boy got swept underneath the ice. Desperate to save his friend, this scrawny boy quickly looked around, saw a tree in the distance, and rushed over to try to pull off a branch. After tugging for a few seconds, he managed to crack off a huge branch, and he then quickly ran back to his friend. He smashed and thrashed at the thick ice until it finally cracked, allowing him to grab onto his friend. He dragged him back to the shore just as the ambulance arrived, and miraculously, they were able to resuscitate him.

In our previous article, we began exploring the Torah’s powerful approach to happiness. To review, growth is the underlying root of deep existential happiness. This is because the deepest human desire is to express our unique purpose in this world. We therefore experience incredible happiness when we are growing and maximizing our potential, fulfilling our purpose. However, while an important layer of happiness results from the expansion of self as we actualize our potential, there are a few keys that are necessary to fully experience the happiness we generate when fulfilling our mission.

In our previous article, we began exploring the five spiritual stages of the creative process. As the Vilna Gaon explains, everything in the universe is comprised of five stages or parts. To briefly review:

If you ask the average person what he wants in life, he will likely answer with one word: happiness. Many people’s lives are centered around this goal. The big decisions, such as who we marry, where we live, the jobs we take, the people we interact with, as well as the smaller decisions, such as what we eat, how we dress, or how much sleep we get, are often made with the goal of attaining a greater level of joy and happiness. However, we often find people who appear set up for happiness living a life stuck in misery, and people who seem destined for a life of anguish living lives of great happiness.

There was very little communication thus far, and no one knew why they were meeting in an abandoned junkyard.

A group of data analysts had received a strange message from their boss. It simply said to show up at a certain spot the next day at 11:00 a.m., no details or explanation included.

Each individual has his own perception of reality, his own view on religion, and his own ideas about leadership. Every religion, as well, has its own perceptions and views on these topics, and just as a person’s views serve as a gateway into understanding his inner beliefs and values, a religion’s views serve as a window into its inner beliefs and value system.