By Maya Tsadik, 11th Grade, SKA
I often think to myself: why do good things happen to “not-so-great people” and bad things happen to truly great people? It never made sense to me, which brings me to think about Hashem’s purpose in all of this.
Why does Hashem have us suffer so much either to succeed or to fall?
Hashem picks every single person’s challenge. It can either make or break who they are. He wouldn’t give us something that He knew we couldn’t handle. Yet, when I come across situations in life that aren’t so pleasant, I wonder what could be the reason for this trouble.
Right after I think that, it’s my job to say to myself that we, as members of the Jewish nation, are on a mission. We must strive to fulfill the unique mission which Hashem chose for each person individually to do.
But how do we know what our mission is? Hashem doesn’t tell us. We have to figure it out and find Hashem. That is actually the first step of fulfilling the mission.
We must think to ourselves if we really understood the fact as to why we were put in whatever situation we are in, we would be so appreciative and thankful toward Hashem.
My biggest challenges brought me to where I am now. They changed me as a person, and, in my heart, I can differentiate between thinking the worst as to why I’m struggling to the most positive assumption that I am going through this. Your strongest davening is when you are struggling the most in the darkest of times. That is the time your tefillah should be so strong. Depending on your davening, Hashem may even make your circumstances better. Just from talking to Him. Which is beautiful.
There are three major components that you must try to have in your relationship with Hashem: acceptance, faith, and appreciation. These are huge factors that determine a lot about what Hashem does for us. To be accepting, in my opinion, is to realize that whatever Hashem does for you is for the good. He knows way better than us. He is the creator of this amazing world. We must believe in Him.
Which brings in the faith component. It’s hard. So many times in our lives every day it’s so easy to just lose faith in Hashem. For example: if we davened super hard for something and we didn’t get it, we may feel upset and discouraged and will stop speaking to Hashem for however long we feel that way.
Another example is if a relative or friend is sick and is just getting worse and worse. Why won’t Hashem heal them? How do we know that He’s actually there? At the moment our job is to say to ourselves and to others, “No! Hashem is there. He’s looking down on each and every single one of us. He is listening to every single word we say to Him. Whether it’s davening or just having a conversation, asking for help and requesting things. He’s always listening. He is the best listener in the world.”
In the berachah of Shema Koleinu, we ask Hashem to better us and make us better listeners and to also help us listen to Hashem more. We ask Him to please listen to our tefillot and hear our cries. I think it’s amazing that we even have a specific paragraph in Shemoneh Esrei to help us with our listening and believing in Hashem.
Which brings us to appreciation. It’s huge. May we appreciate Hashem’s listening to us. And every single thing He does to keep us safe. We wake up in morning and we can breathe. This is a huge blessing and we must appreciate it.
Some people wake up in hospital beds hooked up to breathing machines and life support, because they cannot even breathe on their own. It is very sad to think that but it’s true. We can walk, we can go to school and learn Torah, we can drive, we can eat, and, most importantly, our bodies are functioning.
The body has so many different things going on all at the same time. They are all working together to get the job done. Everything in our bodies is working properly; that is also huge and a huge gift from Hashem. It is so easy for one thing to go wrong and then everything slowly starts to deteriorate, which is very scary. So we must appreciate that we are alive today, and right now. Hashem has a purpose for us to fulfill in this world; we have to find that purpose and do it with appreciation.
Hashem woke us up this morning for a reason; if He didn’t think we could handle it, He wouldn’t put us through it. This cannot be stressed enough. We would not be who we are today without our obstacles in life. They make up our characteristics. When we are living how Hashem wants us to live by keeping mitzvot, Shabbat, kosher, tzniyus, davening, and spreading kindness around the world, we get a lot of blessing from Hashem.
We may not see it now, or even ever see it. But we must believe that it will come. Maybe we won’t even recognize it, but Hashem always comes around. No matter what. He loves us so much.
I know it’s true. When I heard an inspiring and uplifting shiur from my teacher about tzniyut, it immediately made a huge impact on me. I started thinking about how I dress. Is this the way I want people to look at me? Is this what Hashem wants from me? Would I be comfortable walking out like this?
These little thoughts kept coming into my head. All because of one speech that caused me to think. Now I am happier to get dressed and feel like I am getting dressed for a purpose. I am getting dressed and representing Hashem every day of my life. It takes one word, one act of kindness, or one speech and your life can change.
And she was successful because it worked! I am so grateful that I can serve Hashem with what I wear. And I am so happy I was inspired in that way. Tzniyus is very important; all you need to do is learn about it and do it with happiness that you are serving your Creator. It’s a huge mitzvah.
We must always say thank you. It’s one of the most powerful words to some people. I know that when people say thank you for what I did, I am really touched because it shows me how they appreciate me in their lives.
When I say thank you, I truly mean it. I am thanking that person for whatever they did and showing how much I appreciate them in my life. Whether it’s caring about how their day went or even holding the door for someone. Be the person who continuously puts smiles on people’s faces as you walk on the street, at home, in school, in a park, in a public area, and at shul.
Try to put people’s needs before your needs. I know when I tried that and did chesed automatically, my struggles were no longer horrible. I didn’t think of them as much as I used to. I began to realize how much I have and what others don’t.
Once you realize that, hopefully you start to really think that your struggles can change the world and make a huge positive impact on others. You never know what goes on in someone’s home; they could be suffering tremendously and we have no idea.
Spreading our kindness and faith in Hashem could uplift those people so high. They gain mitzvot from what they do and you gain mitzvot from influencing them in the ways of Hashem. It’s great for everyone.
When we find ourselves lost and hopeless, we must seek to find Hashem and beg Him to help us. You can literally go from having what seemed to be nothing to having more than enough. Hashem has a plan for our sufferings before it’s even needed—that’s how beautiful His ways are.
We have to try to also do our part. It’s a two-way street. We also must believe that whatever painful thing did happen actually needed to happen. Hashem wouldn’t do it if it didn’t need to happen. He isn’t there to make you suffer with a negative purpose.
He gives us our struggles to uplift us and develop a relationship with Him and to come to love Him even more then we already do. That’s all He wants from us. He wants us to do the best we can. When we are attached to Hashem during those times of hardship and doubt, it counts as double parnassah.
I know when I cry I can think of two different types of tears. (1) Tears that come from being really sad and angry, which may lead to looking down upon Hashem’s ways, or (2) tears that come from the Creator Who controls the entire world. We cry because it is a beautiful thought. And all we want is for Him to come more into our life. So we beg and cry to Him and He does listen to us.
He may just not answer our requests at this time. It’s very hard to accept that. It’s a big work in progress. But we can never give up. The higher we go, and then fall down and get back up, the next time we fall again we are much stronger and can handle ourselves better.