Dennis Prager at orthodox shul: 'Why it's a mitzvah to conduct yourself happily'

Dennis Prager: Happy conduct is better
than only feeling or intending to be happy
Jews and Gentiles traversed through a Southern California, El Nino downpour to watch Dennis Prager teach "Why it's a mitzvah to be happy." At orthodox, Beth Jacob Congregation's "Modern Minds on Jewish Matters" series on Wednesday, February 17th, Mr. Prager drew from his 1998 book, "Happiness is a Serious Problem," to teach that the Jewish essence of this concept benefits the individual and those around us. Mr. Prager teaches that that to conduct oneself pleasantly is not only a mitzvah (i.e., Jewish commandment) for behaving kindly to others we encounter, but that during times when we aren't, the imperative helps us to make ourselves happier. 

Mr. Prager's nationally syndicated radio program is aired in L.A. weekday mornings on 870KRLA-AM. Each week, he dedicates "The Happiness Hour" to addressing this issue.

JooTube.TV presents Mr. Prager's remarks in this video playlist. Part 1 is his main talk; Part 2 is the first half of Dennis responding to audience submitted questions regarding his remarks; Part 3 is the concluding Question and Answer segment.


(Video Menu is in the upper-left corner; lower-left corner advance forward and back between segments).

Why Be Happy? Dennis Prager on PragerU, 20 January 2014
Most people think of happiness as essentially a selfish issue: “I want to be happy -- and I want to be happy for me.”  
I’d like to suggest that in fact happiness is far, far more than a selfish desire. In fact, it is a moral obligation.
I know that most people have never thought of happiness in this way. Neither did I, to tell the truth, for much of my life. I thought that happiness, and especially the pursuit of happiness, was all about oneself. But it isn’t.  
Whether or not you’re happy, and most importantly, whether or not you act happy is about altruism, not selfishness -- because it is about how we affect others’ lives. And that’s what makes it a moral issue.  
Ask anybody who was raised by an unhappy parent whether or not happiness is a moral issue, and I assure you the answer will be “yes.” 
It is no fun being raised by an unhappy parent, or being married to an unhappy person, or being the parent of an unhappy child, or working with an unhappy co-worker. Our happiness affects others -- profoundly. That’s why happiness is a moral obligation. We are morally obligated to at least act as happy as possible -- even if we don’t feel happy. 
People can’t be guided by feelings because it is how we act that affects others -- not how we feel. A good analogy to bad moods is bad breath. Why do we brush our teeth multiple times every day? It’s not only because of hygiene, it’s because we want to present good breath to anybody who we come in contact with. Well, the same thing holds true for our moods. 
Read Mr. Prager's original article on PragerU.

Question and Answers from Beth Jacob Congregation lecture- Part 3

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