A Nechamah From The Pain Itself

We are still reeling from the impact and the pain of the pandemic that we in Klal Yisrael endured. The friends and family that we had to be menachem avel and those who are no longer with us; not being able to daven with a minyan and to learn with our chavrusos in our batei medrash; the loss of parnassah and the financial hardship that many endured, the stores that were forced to close here in Boro Park and in Flatbush. We would be fooling ourselves if we said it didn’t hurt.

How do we find a nechamah to enable us to continue with renewed energy, to keep shteiging and to achieve, even on a higher level than before? I heard a beautiful thought from Harav Avraham Pam, zt”l, that may provide a track and a vision for inspiration and continued growth, that results from the pain itself rather than in spite of it.

Rav Pam was asked by a group of mechanchim how to transmit the legacy of the Holocaust to young talmidim who had only heard or read about it from books and had never met someone with a number on their arm. He told them not to discuss why it happened, but rather to stress the amazing turnaround and the boundless potential for growth after the Churban. He explained that this phenomenon is based on the passukKaasher yeyaser ish es b’no, Hashem Elokeinu meyasrecha.” When a loving father is forced to castigate his child, he does so with a pain-filled heart. Afterward, the father looks for opportunities to renew the close, loving relationship he had with his child, before the child did wrong.

“This is how Hashem deals with Klal Yisrael. After a period of Divine anger and punishment brought about by the sins of Klal Yisrael, there follows a tremendous stirring of Heavenly mercy toward them. In fact, the more painful and stronger the potch that Hashem must give us, the more intense and far-reaching the corresponding loving “embrace” that follows. Who could have dreamed that the few remaining survivors, broken in body and spirit, would lead the renaissance of Torah life in such a dramatic way? Who could have foreseen that Torah life would spread far and wide and grow in quantity as well as quality to heights that were unimaginable?” (Quote from the sefer, Rav Pam on the Haftarah, page 122, by Rabbi Sholom Smith.)

As Rav Pam explains, when Klal Yisrael receives a klop, a tremendous hisorerus of closeness, siyatta diShmaya and chizuk follow. This pandemic was certainly a klop, so that whatever inyanei ruchniyus we undertake we can expect to see hatzlachah beyond our initial expectations. We want to embrace this opportunity and not miss out on this expression of love, closeness and chizuk from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. So let us move forward in whatever inyanim are important to us, whether nachas from our children, shidduchim, shteiging in learning, parnassah or growth in kedushah, and we will iy”H see great siyatta diShmaya and hatzlachah.

Maybe … maybe if we yearn enough for Moshiach and ask for Moshiach to come, it may just be the opportune moment.

David Lowinger