By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
Everybody has got them. Pot holes and speed bumps in the road of life. How do we overcome or at the very least move on, notwithstanding the obstacles that give us a real run for our money.
The Bible is clear, we don’t live in a disorganized random chaotic world. It also makes very good logical sense to think and believe that way.
When there is an order and system to things then, with our free choice, we can sometimes intentionally or unintentionally makes decisions that challenge and attempt to defy the order G-d has set in this world. To a great measure the Bible tells us, it is our very own choices that bring us the hardships we face in life. It is us, who mess up the perfect pattern G-d created.
Nevertheless, Chassidus teaches us to always accept everything in joy. Joy is the fundamental underlying elixir to everything in life. But how is it possible to accept and bear it all and do it in joy? Chassidus gives us the tools and techniques how exactly we should and we can, deal with our difficulties in life.
Humans have a definite spectrum and parameter in which they can see and hear things. Some animals and creatures see and hear more because their range is wider and deeper. The same is also with our minds, they are finite and limited.
The first method, is to look at what’s happening, as coming from an infinite G-d who is way beyond our possibility to understand.
G-d is the source of everything and He is by His very own nature, essentially good. We surrender ourselves to this fact and even when at the present things appear as dark, confusing, and incomprehensible, the knowledge that the pain we feel is from a doctor who cares, helps us keep a happy attitude.
The second method, is to view the pain and difficulties as a process to polish and clean parts of our lives we may have bent out of shape or sullied with our bad choices. It is to make us, better and stronger than what we are at this present moment. Out of G-ds deep rooted love for ourselves He puts us through a procedure that corrects and remedies where we may have messed up.
When a person’s sees his hardships as coming from the love of G-d to help this person who messed up, this arouses within G-d the desire to minimize and hasten the process. This second approach shortens the process itself.
The third method is to view hardships as an intentional test G-d is putting the person through. G-d wants to see if we will take the hardship more seriously, than our determination to keep on going. In this third step a person is completely and totally not fazed by the difficulties. The person knows what’s expected of him and nothing will stop him. It’s not a matter of the intended good G-d has in mind, it’s not either whether G-d is doing this out of love or not.
With this reaction to hardships and determination, the moment the person is totally at peace with the situation because he knows he can never fail at doing what is his G-dly mission, the test disappears because, he has successfully overcome the test and proven himself.
There is a highest and most powerful attitude where the person doesn’t deal with any of the above three approaches. On this level, he doesn’t even encounter the first tastes of the test. This is when he develops a very deep knowledge and appreciation for G-ds interaction with the world to such a point that he sees and experiences everything for the good, right from the start.
Once a great Rabbi sent his student to Reb Zushe who had every imaginable difficulty in life, to learn how to respond to hardships in life. Reb Zushe told him he must have come to the wrong Reb Zushe because this Zushe, had no problems.
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