Clarity Through Challenge

by Shmaya Gestetner

A life of spiritual growth brings many tests with it. We go through periods where we carry out our duties or even advance with ease, and then we encounter periods with great trials that test our resolve.

We know and believe that every test we successfully pass brings us up a level, closer to our ultimate goal. Besides for learning about this and believing in it completely, we can actually feel the growth within the triumph of enduring life’s trials.

Let us try to understand the mechanics of this phenomena and learn why this is necessary. Do we actually accomplish more through this or is it simply a spiritual or psychological reward similar to anything we challenge ourselves with and accomplish?

The power of truth through contrast

Reb Noson teaches that in this world, truth can only be determined through contrast with falsehood. Many of us can know the truth of Hashem through our education, and this knowledge brings us closer to Hashem. The same is true of the opposite. Someone who doesn’t know the truth will therefore be distant from Hashem. However, knowing the truth fully can only be accomplished through trials.

The way this works is that the trials and tests bring other options into play that end up highlighting and enhancing the truth once it is chosen. For example, if I have a very clean car, the dirtier the cars that are surrounding it, the cleaner the car will look.

Similarly, when we go through spiritual tests that surround our holy pursuit with doubts and alternatives, our proper choice will end up being brighter due to the contrast. This is the real reason why we are better off after going through spiritual tests, as we then connect to the absolute truth of our pursuit.

This is the purpose of everything the Jewish people have to go through until moshiach comes. Moshiach will be able to reveal the ultimate clearest truth specifically through all the trials that have transpired up to that point.

The lesson in the Parsha

In Parshas Lech Lecha we are introduced to the famous 10 tests that Avraham Avinu had to go through. It’s interesting that we don’t find this concept relating to any other patriarchs or tzaddikim in the Torah. They all had their trials, but how come they weren’t listed, counted and highlighted as they are with Avraham Avinu?

Reb Noson explains that since Avraham was the first one to introduce the truth to the world, it had to specifically come through tests. Had Avraham discovered Hashem without going through all the trials and the alternative choices that these trials brought, the truth would not have so clearly emerged.

Through this lesson we can appreciate the necessity of our trials and realize how they are given to us in order to help us grow and solidify our truths. There is no position we are put into that cannot bring us to higher levels.

Likutey Halachos Ribbis 5:18

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