PURIM Unmasked

Past Articles:
EVERYTHING IS A TEST

By: Rabbi David Ashear

Once we recognize Hashem’s involvement in every aspect of daily life, we can understand the following comment of the Mesillat Yesharim (Chapter 1):

“All matters in the world – whether good or bad – are tests for a person.”

Anything that happens to us, any situation in which we find ourselves, is a handpicked test with which Hashem chose to test us to see if we will respond the proper way. Sometimes we end up in places through unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, or bump into somebody unexpectedly, and it seems as though it happened randomly. But in truth, it is a ‘setup’ orchestrated by Hashem to test us if we will do what we are supposed to do in the given situation.

The purpose of a test is to elevate us. The Torah says regarding Avraham's test of akedat Yitzchak, “Gd tested Avraham” (Bereishit 22:1). By reacting properly to tests, we become better, more complete people. For this reason, Hashem brings us tests each and every day throughout our lives.

As David HaMelech fled Jerusalem during the rebellion mounted by his own son, Avshalom, he was confronted by Shimi ben Geira, who pelted him with rocks and hurled insults at him. David's servants wanted to kill Shimi, but David instructed them to leave him alone, because Shimi's assault was sent by Hashem. Chazal (as quoted in Chafetz Chaim, Shaar HaTerumah Chapter 8) comments that when David said this to his servants, at that moment he earned the privilege of being the fourth leg of Hashem's chariot, together with the three patriarchs. This was his reward for recognizing that the test he confronted was sent to him by Hashem, rather than losing himself. We must keep this in mind at all times, every day, and realize that all the difficult situations we face are tests from Hashem.

My relative had an appointment in the city, and as she made her way to the car after the appointment, she noticed a ticket on the windshield. At first, she was quite upset, as she had made a point of ascertaining that the spot was legal. But then she told herself,
"I did my hishtadlut [effort], I did what I had to do, and if this happened, then this is a test from Hashem, and
I am not going to let it disturb me.”

When she got to the car, she read the ticket, and couldn’t believe her eyes. It said, “TEST; this is not a ticket – do not pay.”It was unbelievable; it was though Hashem was speaking directly to her, informing her that this was really just a test. Since that day, my relative has kept the ticket as a constant reminder that Hashem is behind the scenes testing us and hoping that we will become better people as a result.