(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav)
וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי הֹ’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם
And you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God.
This phrase suggests that when one is in the presence of God, there is joy. God’s presence must be a constant experience in our lives. Though we can neither see nor hear Him, each Jew must still experience the presence of God. A Jew is required to develop the ability to feel closeness to God, to feel His breath on one’s face, to see Him in every phenomenon, in historical events and in the majesty of nature. One must perceive God not only in miracles but in natural phenomena, and in particular in is a halachic imperative. Prayer, ה’ לִפְנֵי one’s own destiny. The sensation of experiencing that one is for example, requires more than intent—it requires that man experience God in his immediate Joy is the sensation that one feels . ה’ לִפְנֵי proximity. There is no greater joy than sensing that one is when he is close to his origin, the Creator. He is aware that someone guides and cares for him. The is enhanced through the study of Torah. The survival of the Jews throughout ה’ לִפְנֵי experience of generations of persecution and abuse is due to the sublime experience of being in His presence. On a festival, the laws of mourning are nullified on account of the joy associated with the day. On a festival all Israel stands before God, and the festival’s importance is identified with man’s rejoicing before his Creator. The joy is an emotional expression of the human experience of standing before God, and it is this appearance before God that fully annuls the mourning, for mourning and standing before God are mutually exclusive.
Because sin separates between man and God, one merits happiness upon attaining forgiveness of sin, for true simchah occurs only when one feels himself directly in God’s presence. (Nefesh Harav, pp. 314-315; Out of the Whirlwind, p. 78)