By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
There is a well-known saying in the name of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak. “We must benefit and take advantage of every moment in these days. There will come a time (when the Messiah – ultimate redemption will arrive) when, we will pull our hair out, in frustration, that more wasn’t done to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to us in these days (of exile). But then, it will be too late.”
We are now in a time when we are faced with multiple challenges from so many different angles. Difficulties in health, relationships, finances, politics etc. this is a time we call “darkness”, because life for many is not clear at all. Things are confusing, unclear and outright deceptive. Truth, is concealed and hidden away.
A person must always keep in mind, life is a journey and the universe is on a course set by G-d at the time of creation, to reach a perfect destination. Every moment is a step closer to this era of perfection and goodness. Although we find ourselves presently, lost and in the dark, we must always be looking out for the light at the end of the tunnel. Every spark of light, brings that era one moment sooner.
On the other hand, King Solomon tells us, “greater light (comes) from the darkness.” There is so much to learn when in the darkness, that is overlooked when a person is only in the light. Difficulties are always, great learning experiences. Another thing, the light after the darkness, is more greatly appreciated after we fought our way through the darkness. Even further, the light that is generated as a result of the energy expended working through the challenge, is a qualitatively deeper and richer light.
Challenges are only presented to strengthen a person, bring the best out of them and turn them into more than they were before the challenge. If that is so, and there is intrinsic value in difficulties, why is it that one of the very first questions a soul is asked when it comes before G-d for its final judgment is, “did you wait anxiously, and did you yearn, for the ultimate redemption?” The light at the end of the tunnel?
There is a delicate balance that is necessary. If a person doesn’t have a goal and destination in mind, chances are he will not reach this target. Chances are he might never do, what is necessary to reach his destination. Although it’s true, that enjoying ones work is a tremendous quality, the ultimate intention is not the work, but the reward it generates. These days in particular, overcoming all kinds of moral tests and sticking to ones principles, requires a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice. It is this dedication to what’s right that establishes a bond with G-d that is tremendously deep and intense, that we will realize completely, in the times of the final redemption, when the truth of all matters are revealed.
In a relationship, only when one of the partners has paid a huge price has he so clearly demonstrated his commitment to the other partner and a mighty strong bond is developed. When a person makes mistakes and falls, he learns from his mistakes what to avoid next time, and is smarter as a result. When he is on the ground, he can gain a perspective he would never see while standing. Much is gained from hardships.
However dealing with the darkness and inner temptations must be understood as only a means to an end. We must never enjoy the darkness, and the fall, so much, that we don’t care to get up and out, into the light.
In the times of redemption, when the present day challenges come to an end, and a new chapter opens up for the universe, then, the ultimate truth will be revealed. To that we must yearn. Nevertheless we must keep in mind. It is only, when we learn to make the best of now, we can enjoy the best of then.
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