11 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
 
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HomeSpirituality and FaithSpiritual GrowthLife is a Strong Cup of Coffee
 
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Life is a Strong Cup of Coffee    

Life is a Strong Cup of Coffee



We are standing knee deep in gold coins – the trials and tribulations we face right now are here just to motivate us to get off the couch and go collect them!

 



Naftali Bennett cannot get a good cup of coffee. Shopping in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda bazaar (the Shuk for those who know Jerusalem), he laments how long it takes for the barista to serve him a cup.  

 

“I’m sorry sir, half our staff is out.” 

 

“Is everything okay?” asks the Knesset Member. 

 

“Half of our employees get paid less than what the government is giving to people who lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus Recession. They make more money to stay home than to come to work.” 

 

What would you do for the next 11 months of your life? Serve coffee all day or let the government pay for you to learn how to develop software?  

 

If Someone Can Do It . . . Let Him Do It 

In the Soviet Union, alcoholism was so widespread,  Premiere  Michal  Gorbachev   banned  alcohol because his advisers told him that due to people coming to work drunk, the Soviet economy had remained stagnant for almost 20 years.  

 

If you are going to get paid whether or not you perform, most people choose to just take it easy. The Ramchal alludes to this in his Path of the Just. Man comes from the dust, and without a desire to rise upward, he will find every way to be as comfortable as he can all his life. You need a lot of motivation to not just be a clump of clay on the sofa! 

 

We are motivated by two main factors: basic survival or physical comfort, and standing out as something special.  

 

Take those incentives away and everybody will be standing in line behind Naftali Bennett for a cup of coffee the way comrades in Leningrad did for a pound of ground beef.  

 

Abundance is a Dangerous Blessing 

If Hashem will wake me up, provide me with clothing, feed me, house me, and let me live in physical comfort, what need do I have to serve Him? I have everything I want.  

 

This is why tribulations are such a blessing. In fact, tribulations are essential staples of life, no different than our daily bread or a cup of coffee.  

 

Just like the average barista is happy to go forever without working as long as the government checks keep coming, we can go a lifetime without performing a mitzvah, as long as Hashem provides us with our basics.  

 

Even the observant can pass through life by “meeting the standard” as long as physically, everything is okay.  

 

But once the government checks stop, people have to go back to work.  

 

Once Hashem removes the comfort we take for granted, we pray with more focus, more determination. We get up earlier to learn, and invest greater focus. We dedicate more time to kindness. Our emuna is strengthened because it is being constantly put to the test.  

 

 

Question Answered 

When we are hit with a tribulation, it is Hashem taking away the snooze button to get us out of bed. It is G-d leading us, often kicking and screaming, to the King’s treasury so we can fill our sacks with everything that is there.  

 

At the end of life, we will be devastated to see how many precious gems we left behind simply because we didn’t push ourselves to do more mitzvot. We will be grateful to Hashem for those times where He forced us to take a good look and start filling our baskets. 

 

Hard times are difficult. They can be painful and emotionally draining. So is exercise, hard work, and getting up early for just about anything.  

 

But the results are worth it.  

Right now, we are all standing knee deep in gold coins!!! 

 

Just like the bottom of a recession is the best time to start a new venture, tough times are the best place to take on a new mitzvah, or to perform one with renewed vigor.  

 

This is the richest time of our life. It is a chance to push our emuna to the test, to be happy in the face of supreme adversity. To tell Hashem at every moment that He doesn’t have to “pay” us with the “perfect” life to get us to serve Him – the service is the reward 

 

Hard times are like strong coffee. It may not be pleasant, but it is exactly what we need in order to do what’s most important with the most amount of energy.   

 

* * * 

David Ben Horin lives in Israel with his wife and children. 

 





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