Joe noticed his classmate Albert’s nervousness and tried to calm him down.
“It’s just another test, Al,” Joey said. “In the big picture, overall, I think you’ll pass. Don’t worry so much — it’s just not worth it.”
“I don’t know how you can say that,” Albert responded. “You never know if you’ll be short a point or so on your average when you want to advance to a good place for your continued studies. It might even affect an employment opportunity one day. I think itimportant to do your best on every test.”
It’s so important to keep in mind the words of the Ramchal in Mesillat Yesharim (Chapter 1): “All matters of this world …are tests for the human being.”
How often we get caught up in the big picture and lose focus on the details — and the details are precisely where the test is the most difficult. In a crisis, most of us can consolidate our strength and rise to the occasion — even surpass our normal level of achievement. It’s at times when one doesn’t sense that one is being tested that the likelihood of failure looms large. What the Ramchal is revealing in these few, well-chosen words is that everything is a test — “ALL matters of this world.” Every single millisecond of life that Hashem graciously grants us is an opportunity to grow and succeed or, chas v’shalom, to fail and regress. If one can focus on that thought all the time, one’s test scores will inevitably show dramatic improvement.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Knowing when to be silent is a great step in the direction of achdus. It follows in the spirit of the famous Gemara (Chullin 89a) that asks, “What is a person’s profession in this world? To train yourself to be like a mute.” Another Gemara (Chullin 89a) informs us, “The world survives because of the one who knows how to shut his mouth during a quarrel.” Whether in the workplace or in the synagogue, whether in the arena of marital harmony, parental relationships, or raising children, the pursuit of peace will serve us well and surely give us success in all our endeavors. (Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, Meaningful Living, p. 234)
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.