A parable tells of a man carrying an extremely heavy sack uphill on a hot day. As he struggled up the incline, he pleaded with onlookers to help him offload his burden. After several bystanders refused to help, he cried to a man standing on the side of the road, “Please! Please! Do me a favor! Take my load off my back! If you do, you may keep the contents of the sack.”
The bystander said, “I’m willing to do as you ask, but are you sure you want me to comply with your request? Your load is diamonds, and should you reach the top of this hill, you will be allowed to keep all that you carry.”
“I didn’t ask for this burden, but if it’s as you say, then I’ll continue to the top,” he said with renewed enthusiasm.
When one suffers from any type of affliction, one should utilize the misfortune to work on self-improvement (Brachot 5a). One should view troubles as a heaven-sent prompt to evaluate one’s behavior and correct and improve traits and deeds that are less than perfect.
When asked if he realized the value of affliction, Rabi Yochanan exclaimed, “Yes! But I prefer not to suffer and not to glean reward” (Brachot 6b). One may not choose suffering if offered the choice, but upon being subjected to travails, one should realize the fact that it is not for naught that one suffers. When one sees value and purpose, one finds suffering easier to bear. The more one sees meaning in suffering, the lighter the burden becomes. See the diamonds and lighten your load.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Boredom is essentially the enemy of life, certainly productive life itself. And the truth of the matter is that there are so many interesting challenges and projects that one need never really suffer from terminal boredom. This is especially true regarding Torah study and Jewish subjects. The richness and variety of Torah study can and should be explored and exploited. Social activities and friends are also great aids to dispel boredom. (Rabbi Berel Wein, “Boredom”)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.