Let My People Know

"On a certain level success and a good and pleasant life are dangerous"


There is something paradoxical in the fact that a wicked person is afflicted with suffering, because this is a gift for him:
Suffering is his chance to escape the closed circle of evil. 

And so some have suggested that an evildoer's true punishment comes not with his suffering but with its stopping. 

This idea informs one interpretation of the punishment that the serpent in the Garden of Eden received when God cursed it, "You shall eat dust all the days of your life." 

One might think that there could be no greater boon than this. Because dust is everywhere, the serpent will always have food to eat. 

While others grow weary seeking nourishment, the serpent need not make the slightest effort.
But this is the meaning of God's words: 

"I am giving you everything so that you will never grow tired, you will never have to worry, you will never have any problems-because I do not want to see you again. And so you will never have to come to Me. You will never have to turn to Me; you will never pray to Me." 

Something of this exists in every gift that we receive from God. 

In general, we see that success breeds self-satisfaction; as the verse states, "you became fat, you became thick, you became dense.”

It takes great wisdom to know how to truly and correctly receive those things for which we have prayed. 

On a certain level, success and a good and pleasant life are dangerous. 

They lead a person to a thoughtless life, to an island of tranquility far from any inspiration and exaltation of the spirit. 

Yet nevertheless, we pray for these things and do not pray for suffering. 

This is the paradox of the juxtaposition: 

"Happy is the man whom You, O God, chasten.”

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Opening the Tanya by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz