I t had been a long week and I was looking forward to getting out of the city.

There had been some unpleasant experiences that had taken a toll on my patience, general happiness, and even on my avodas Hashem. Within the last 24 hours I’d been physically threatened by a patient’s husband after recommending she go to a drug-rehabilitation facility, and then a few pipes in my house had burst.

Not that I wasn’t happy to see my plumber — Reb Yaakov Prupis is an honest guy and a friend as well. But I’d have preferred to schmooze with him over a Shabbos cholent rather than having him come to fix my overflowing bathroom.

As I’d been willing to do home visits in outlying communities around Judea and Samaria, I’ve had the zechus to visit a number of amazing places that most folks only read about in the news. From Chevron in the south up to Kedumim and Har Brachah in the north and many places in between, I’ve been happy to familiarize myself with all of Eretz Yisrael and to help people in the process.

I’d been referred a number of patients by a special Yid who runs an organic farm on a hilltop outside of Itamar where he employs young men who don’t fit into a “normal” framework, and this seemed to be a good time to pay him a visit as well as recharge my spiritual batteries. I could clear my mind with an inspiring hike while following up with the fellow who’s sent me workers and talmidim for consultation. So I hopped in the car with my friend Shmuel, who was happy to join me for the ride, and headed north out of the city.

Between the turn-off for Beit-El and the road to Shiloh, I imagined our ancestors traveling this same twisting path on their yearly pilgrimages up to Jerusalem thousands of years ago. I marveled at the wadis and olive groves that were present millenia before the Ramban made his own journey to Eretz Hakodesh. I sat in the car staring out the window and appreciating the majesty of it all… until we drove by some monuments in memory of Jewish children and families killed in terrorist attacks and passed a few villages known for harboring jihadists. Beyond making my stomach turn in anguish, I became increasingly glad that I had said Tefillas Haderech and that my traveling companion, Shmuel, was a former Israeli commando who still carried a firearm.

Baruch Hashem, we made it to the farm safely. We parked our car under a pair of fig trees and were greeted by our host with an incredible fresh goat-milk-and-passion-fruit smoothie that was mamish taam Olam Haba. As we walked through his olive groves and marveled at the beauty of Hashem’s Chosen Land, I was almost starting to forget my week. And then our host told me about one of his workers who I had helped as he recovered from a pain-killer addiction.

The young man — who had now been clean for six months — had wanted to stop by and say hello, but he had rushed from the farm back to his own community that very morning following the serious injury of a family member who was serving in the army reserves somewhere in the area. I wrote down the name “Yisrael Ben Sarah” on a note to keep him in mind, and the three of us sat and said a silent prayer for his refuah.

As we went back to the car I started to think about how I needed to keep my priorities straight, and that plumbing problems were nothing compared to the challenges facing our people in the Biblical heartland. And even though it was Chodesh Adar, I felt myself falling into distress.

Sensing my mood, Shmuel wanted to cheer me up. “You know, we’re right near Har Gerizim. If we go up there you can see Kever Yosef down the mountain in Shechem. Maybe that’ll perk you up to your normal, happy self?”

I agreed, but as we drove through a checkpoint outside Shechem — and passed another memorial for a Yid who life was snuffed out by terror — I wasn’t feeling too much better about things.

We headed up the winding path along the mountainside and I really wanted to be b’simchah. But even as we stepped out of the car and looked down at Kever Yosef, all I could do was feel hurt over the fact that this holy site has essentially become inaccessible since Israel began its “peace process,” and that so many neshamos had been taken al kiddush Hashem in the surrounding area.

I started off the day feeing terrible about a bunch of insignificant things, and here I was now surrounded by serious sorrow: Jewish lives taken by terrorism, and Kever Yosef — the burial place of Yosef Hatzadik and the former site of an amazing yeshivah, the structure of which was torched during the second intifada — now lay desolate and encircled by an enemy craving our collective exodus from the Jewish People’s national homeland.

We pulled out our Tehillim, but our prayers were suddenly interrupted by the piercing, joyous ruckus of young men screaming, “This is it! Har Gerizim! The mountain of brachos! Just like in Sefer Devarim!”

Four young chassidic bochurim dressed in traditional garb came running around the corner toward the overlook where Shmuel and I stood davening. In American-Yiddish accents, they started singing “Mishenichnas Adar” and dancing in a circle. I stood mesmerized and wondered how these young men had made their way here through a minimum of three army checkpoints to dance atop Har Gerizim.

“How’d you guys get here?” I blurted out, curiosity getting the better of me.

The oldest bochur smiled and told me, “The same way you did. We drove north out of Yerushalayim.”

“Does your Rebbe know you’re here?”

“Are you kidding?” he responded. “But Eretz Yisroel is a matuneh! What could be better than being out here getting as close to Kever Yoisif as possible? Eretz Yisrael! Yoisif Hatzadik! I’m getting leibedig! It’s still Adar! Geulah is coming! Come, let’s dance!”

With that, the bochur grabbed my hands and continued singing “Mishenichnas Adar.” Shmuel came running and joined in.

I felt the tremendous weight of the week and the emotions that were crushing me all morning suddenly disappear. If four bochurim from Brooklyn could get to the top of Har Gerezim and dance about Chodesh Adar, it was clear to me that no amount of terrorism or hatred could stop the power of simchah.

As I was swinging back and forth between my fellow Yidden, I made a neder to myself that I’d work on being happy. I’d do some serious avodah to bring this same kind of simchah and gratitude to my personal and professional life.

And I’d smile when I got back to my house to welcome my friend Yaakov the Plumber, even if it was for broken pipes instead of cholent.

Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 701. Jacob L. Freedman is a psychiatrist and business consultant based in Israel. When he’s not busy with his patients, Dr. Freedman can be found learning Torah in The Old City or hiking the hills outside of Jerusalem. Dr. Freedman can be reached most easily through his website www.drjacoblfreedman.com.