Let My People Know

"Suffering is a trial"


Consider the simple situation of a person in a certain distress, whether of a greater or a lesser degree — a lack of money or illness or a calamity of tragic proportions or despondency. 

The distress is genuine enough. 

There is no point in claiming that one should be glad about it or that one should not do everything possible to eliminate it. 

The usual way of relating to distress is to experience a certain drop of spirit, a sadness, or bitterness, which can be interpreted as stemming from an attitude that one does not deserve the pain and sorrow, that one has somehow been unfairly or wrongly treated. 

This can be remedied by seeing the suffering not as punishment for some wrongdoing that one may or may not have done but as a sort of reward, which is not immediately apparent as such. 

It takes a while to distinguish it. 

Another part of the problem lies in the nature of whatever causes distress. 

What if it gets worse? What if no good comes of it? 

Suffering is a trial. 

For suffering can lead to many things. 

Some rise; others fall. 

Suffering is the test. 

Can a person receive it without sliding into hatred? 

Can he grow from experiencing it?

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Pebbles of Wisdom from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz