10 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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HomeSpirituality and FaithSpiritual GrowthTurn Pain into Gain
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Turn Pain into Gain    

Turn Pain into Gain

Why simply suffer through life? Turn the struggles into victories! Even small successes can be major turning points in life.


In a recent video, Rabbi Elimelech Biederman quotes the Chofetz Chaim who says that when a person is in the middle of a battle with his Evil Inclination, whether it’s to guard his eyes or to refrain from some other misdeed, it's like being in a gold mine. In a gold mine a person can become a millionaire in minutes. However, when he's in the gold mine itself, he's struggling and covered with dirt. 


Others see him and say, How dirty you are! If he’s smart, he’ll just laugh at their comments. He knows he’s going to become a rich man. He may be mired in dirt, but he can become a millionaire. Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim says that when a Jew is in the midst of a test he may be struggling and covered with dirt but the truth is that he is in the greatest gold mine. This is where he can soar to supreme heights by successfully meeting the challenge. 


Rabbi Joshua Rahimi recounts a true story about a poor boy who was forced to leave yeshiva and begin work. He got a job as a janitor in the diamond district. While sweeping a floor, he saw a small diamond amidst the dust. At first his Evil Inclination tempted him to keep it. No one would miss it! Moreover, by keeping the gem he could go back to learning full time and not have to work. After an internal struggle he rejected this course of action and announced his find. Eventually he returned it to its rightful owner who was a rich diamond dealer. This dealer was so impressed with the young man's honesty that he decided to hire him.  


Over time, the wealthy man continued to be impressed by the young man's integrity, honesty, work ethic, and sterling character. Eventually, he introduced the young man to his daughter whom the young man married! Rabbi Rahimi concludes that every test is an opportunity to collect diamonds! 


I heard a short talk by Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron. He explained that any test that you undergo, whether it be small or large, could be the one that becomes a turning point in your life, resulting in major salvations. 


In a talk by Rabbi Simcha Sperling, he declares that the battle going on in front of us is the one that we must embrace. A victory can benefit us now and is something we can take to the Next World.  


A potential victory has immeasurable value. It doesn't matter how we've performed in prior tests or how we'll fare afterwards. The challenge can be extremely difficult and daunting but it's a great opportunity, precisely because Hashem knows how tough it is. That's why your efforts are so precious to Him. Just focus on the test at hand right now! 


Think about only one battle at a time, one day at a time. The victory is what you can bring with you in this world and the Next. Hashem will be so proud of you. He'll think of you like His Navy SEAL or Rocky! 


I read a powerful axiom: “No pressure, no diamonds.” So true! Rabbi Shalom Arush often says that you will not build emuna by sitting on the beach or eating chocolate ice cream. Major spiritual advancement only comes through difficult tests. 


I remember my high school wrestling coach putting us through grueling workouts and saying “no pain no gain. At the time, I hated it when he said that, but I now see there's a lot of wisdom in that old axiom.  


A year ago, I was in the hospital after being hit by a truck. I remember looking out the window and seeing people walking down the street. I thought to myself: Those people are a lot like I was just a few days ago. They're walking without pain and neglecting to thank Hashem. I resolved that when I recovered from my injuries, I would be a more grateful person and thank Hashem every day for the ability to walk and many other blessings I had taken for granted. 


I hope I never get hit by a truck again as it was a very difficult experience. However, reflecting on it now, I see that it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. 


Rebbe Nachman says that Hashem is within every test and tribulation. These are created by Him with love to bring us close to Him and elevate us. When we remember that everything that happens is a test and Hashem wants us to pass and is literally cheering us on and helping us, it will help us navigate through troubled times. Moreover, it will enable us to leverage each challenging situation so we can achieve the maximum benefit in this world and the World to Come. 

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