Suffering, it has been claimed, can cleanse sin; it is able to wipe out the ugly stain of evildoing.
And, in a way, there is an objective purification of this sort and a subjective cleansing.
The objective comes in the wake of facts.
The subjective takes place at the moment when one wishes it to happen.
If one does not relate to the causes of affliction, refusing to see them as purifiers, the purification acts only partially.
When a person who is dirty gets doused with water, much depends on whether he is washing or not.
Even though a certain amount of dirt is removed, his active participation in the process is a significant factor.
So, too, the acceptance of suffering with love is not a matter of nodding one's head and muttering, "What can I do?"
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Candle of God, "The Trials of Life," by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz