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Do Personal Trainers Make Your Life Miserable?

Sunday, 31 March, 2019 - 8:45 pm

Question of the Week:


I understand (somewhat at least) why Hashem sends people difficulties in life. Life is not meant to be easy. What I'm having a problem with is why He will make it difficult for us when performing a mitzva. 


For example, the car breaks down just when you're doing someone a favour, or the oven stops working on Friday when you need to cook for Shabbos, or your boss schedules an important meeting that you must attend, but you can't because of all days it just happens to be on Yomtov. 


I've heard answers like Hashem wants you to pray harder, or the harder the mitzva the greater the reward, but these just seem like cop out answers. 


The Talmud says Hashem helps people do what they choose to do, whether it be bad or good. If that's the case, why does He put stumbling blocks before people who set out to do good?




Imagine you're in the middle of a heavy work out at the gym. Pretty exhausted, you turn to your personal trainer and say, "You have asked me to lift these dumbbells. I am more than happy to do it. But why do you keep on adding weight to them? You're just making my job harder."


The trainer responds, "Yeah, that's the point. Every time you sweat, you burn calories. The heavier the load, the more you burn. I don't just want dumbbells to be lifted, I want you to work for it! The stronger you get, the more resistance you need to make you sweat."


It is similar with G-d's commandments. If He just wanted these things to get done, then it would be ridiculous for Him to make it difficult for us. You don't give someone a job and then put obstacles in their way. You don't ask someone to lift something, and then make it heavier. 


But our mission is not just to get the mitzvos done, it is to battle evil and change the world for good through doing mitzvos. Every good deed we do brings a ray of divine light into the world. Anything that gets in way of us doing a good deed is a layer of darkness trying to block that light. When we overcome that obstacle, the powers of light have vanquished a little corner of darkness in the universe. And every victory over darkness, no matter how small, is a step closer to the ultimate goal, creating a world of goodness and light. 


If you are facing a lot of resistance to doing a mitzvah, that is a sign that you are doing a great job. The more hurdles you jump, the more darkness you banish and the more goodness you achieve. As you win more battles and your light gets stronger, you are sent new obstacles, because you now have the spiritual stamina to overcome them.


So expect the obstacles, even welcome them. This is what you are here for, to burn away the darkness and bring more light. So next time your car breaks down and you have to get out and run to do a mitzvah, remember, G-d loves that. Your personal trainer might like it too.  


Good Shabbos, 
Rabbi Moss 



Zohar Terumah 128

Tanya Chapter 27

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