Rabbi David Ashear
The pasuk in Tehillim (126:1) says, “When Hashem redeems us from this exile, it will feel like a dream.” Sometimes, when a person has a dream, the situation looks dreadful and he feels very frightened. But then he wakes up and realizes that there was nothing of which to be afraid. Similarly, the troubles we endure in this world appear dreadful, but one day they will all be “like a dream,” we will “wake up” and realize that there was never anything to fear.
In fact, as the next verse says, “our mouths will then be filled with laughter.” We will see not only that our troubles were nothing to fear, but that they weren’t troubles at all, and that they were actually the greatest things that could have happened to us. And upon achieving this recognition, our mouths will exultantly sing praises to Hashem, thanking Him for everything we went through in life. At that time we will understand why that shidduch did not work out, why it took that girl so long to get married, why that couple could not have children for so many years, and why that woman miscarried. It will become so clear to us how everything that happened was an expression of Hashem’s immense love and compassion for us that we will erupt in joyous song and dance.
The Yalkut Shimoni (Eichah remez 997) writes that the future redemption will come in reward for our emunah; our faith is what will bring Mashiah. What kind of emunah will bring our redemption? Rav Elchanan Wasserman describes this faith as follows: The belief that Hashem is controlling everything and nothing happens by chance. The Ya’aros Devash (1:1) writes that this refers to accepting the way Hashem deals with us lovingly and without complaint.
How does one know if he has succeeded in implanting this firm belief within himself? He knows by his reaction to the challenges in life. A person who believes that Hashem’s only interest is to benefit us and He always does the best thing for us will be able to endure painful situations with a smile. If we know someone is doing something beneficial for us, we will even be willing to pay them to do something that causes us pain.
I reflect upon this point every time I have my teeth cleaned. The dentist is scraping my teeth, causing discomfort, pain, and bleeding, but I am happy to go through with it and even pay for the experience. People pay to sit with nutritionists who severely restrict their diets, and they’re happy to do it, knowing how beneficial this is for them. Weightlifters endure a great deal of pain, but they do so happily, recognizing how it benefits them.
I heard a comparison drawn to someone who saw a person leave the courtroom singing and bouncing with joy. He asked the person why he was so happy, and the man told him that he just paid $10,000. “Why are you so happy if you just paid $10,000?” the man asked. “Because I was sued for $10 million.”
This is precisely the way we should view our issurim (suffering). If there’s a leak in the roof and it costs $1,000 to fix it, he should rejoice, knowing that this was caused by Hashem Who always has only our best interests in mind. And he should thus pay the money with joy. We need to have this simple faith that everything Hashem does is for our benefit.
A person told me the other day that one of his workers stole a great deal of cash from the store and ran away. The man said that in the past, he would have lost his mind in frustration and anguish, but now, because he has worked on strengthening his emunah, he fully accepted that this is what Hashem wanted and it must therefore be the best thing that could have happened to him. If a person stubs his toe he should realize that it had been decreed in the heavens that this would happen, and there is thus no reason to feel upset.
It is difficult for us to imagine the merit we earn by accepting misfortune with love. We don’t always have the answers for why things happen the way they do, but if we strengthen our emunah then Hashem will bring Mashiah, and we will then rejoice and our mouths will be filled with laughter, as we will understand why everything happened as it did.