A Gift in Disguise
Although at times we need to
endure suffering we must trust Hashem always as in בטחו בו בכל עת.
When one trusts in Hashem, he is able to bear suffering. This is how the Baal
Shem Tov interprets אלופינו מסבלים as one who trusts in the אלופו של עולם, master of the world, is able to tolerate suffering—מסובלים.
Rashi teaches in regard to
Tzaraas on a house, that the אמוריים, Amorites would hide
treasures of gold in the walls of their houses. As a result of the Tzaraas, one
would demolish the house and find these treasures.
The Piazetzna Rebbe
(1889-1943) wonders why the house is initially quarantined for seven days and
only afterwards the stones containing the Tzaraas are removed?
Since the purpose is to get the treasure, once the Tzaraas is visible, it is
known there is a treasure there? He
tells us this alludes to that everything Hashem does is good.
He writes in regard to his situation then, during the Holocaust, “Not only are
we afflicted with physical pain but also with that which distances us from
Hashem—no Cheder for children, no Yeshiva, no Beis Midrash to daven with a
Tzibur, no Mikva and so on.” Just like the house is Tamai for seven days and
then the treasure is revealed so too everything is for the best. Thus, by
Tzaraas one says כנגע נראה לי,
something like an affliction has appeared to me, even if he knows it is certainly
Tzaraas. R’ Chatzkel Levenstein writes the situations that gave him pain were
the cause of goodness.
tells us if we realized what a kindness it is that Hashem sends us pain—יסורים—in this world, we would dance from Simcha. This can be compared
to parents cleaning up after a child soiled himself. The child screams and
cries. But if the child would know what the mother is doing he would kiss and
Suffering can be compared to
one who is ill and takes bitter medicine as the medicine cures him. This pain
that the doctor is putting the patient through, with the bitter medicine, is
surely considered good since it gives the patient life. Likewise, suffering is
to cleanse us from our sins in order to merit עולם הבא.
A man who suffered numerous misfortunes in his life (childless for
a number of years, after having a child the child got sick and died, etc.) came
to the Pnei Menachem (1926-1996) for encouragement. The Rebbe told him, “When I was very young, I went to the bank and
saw someone give lots of money to the teller. I felt bad for this man because
he was giving away an exorbitant amount of money. Another man came in and
received money from the teller. I felt happy for him. When I got older, I realized
the one giving money to the teller was better off since it was for investments
whereas the one receiving money from the teller was for a withdrawal. Life is
the same way as not everything that is taken from you is taken from you and not
everything given to you is really given to you.”
We can use the suffering we endure to build us. “Don’t just go through
things, grow through it.” Let us keep in mind, “When life gives you rocks,
build bridges not walls.” We must utilize suffering so that we don’t fulfill
the words לשוא הכיתי...לא לקחו,in vain did I strike you
since you didn’t accept rebuke. Likewise, it states על מה תכו עוד תוסיפו סרה, for what have you been smitten since you continue to act
following is a poem that can help us in times of pain.
I received nothing I wanted, I received
everything I needed. My prayers were answered.
A group of women that were
learning Nach came to the Pasuk מצרף ומטהר כסף,
smelting and purifying silver. The women wondered how this applied to Hashem?
This question spurred one of the women to research the process of refining
silver. She watched a silversmith at his work where he held a piece over the
fire and let it heat up. He did this because in refining silver, one needs to
hold the silver in middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest, in
order to burn away all the impurities. The silversmith remarked he had to sit
there the entire time it was being refined to watch it while it was in the fire
since if the silver is left even for a moment too long in the flames, it would
be destroyed. Upon being asked how he knows when the silver is fully refined,
he said when I see my image in it. So, if today you are feeling the heat of the
fire, remember that you are in Hashem’s hands and that He has His eye on you.
He will keep holding and watching you until he sees his image in you.
merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close
to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt
has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives
with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes
and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of