And Avraham said to his servant, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that was his, “Please place your hand under my thigh.” (Bereshis 24:2)
Imagine the scene. There are two students in a class. One has been doing great the whole year and has gotten an A on every single test. He gets a 99 on the final exam and only spent a few minutes studying for it. The other is barely passing the class. He studies for days for the final exam and gets an 87. Who is happier? Of course, it is the second person! Even though the first person received a higher score, the second person spent more time and energy on studying.
Rashi tells us in this week’s parsha that when a person swears, he must take hold of an article related to a mitzvah. Avraham chose his Bris Milah because it was dear to him because he fulfilled it through pain. It was precious because he had to struggle to fulfill it.
People like the easy life. We have so many technological advances that make life simple so we can relax more. But living on Easy Street is not all it is made out to be because people lack true satisfaction. When a person struggles to do something, he will ultimately feel happiness. This is because he accomplishes something.
A few weeks ago, the world lost one of the greatest people in the past century, if not the greatest: Rav Ovadia Yosef. People might think that his life was easy and he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but his life was the exact opposite. Rav Ovadia Yosef was born in Iraq and at a young age came to Eretz Yisrael with barely any money.
Rav Ovadia Yosef loved learning, but he did not have enough money to afford to buy seferim to learn. He used to go to the local bookstore and learn the seferim while he was in the store. He made a deal with the owner. He would stay up the whole night guarding the store and the owner would lock him in giving him the right to use any sefer. That was sacrifice. That was going through struggles… but those struggles brought him great happiness. These struggles made him one of the greatest Jewish leaders.
Satisfaction only comes when a person accomplishes a difficult task. Some people enjoy Easy Street, but if a person really wants enjoyment he will not always take the easy way out. He will go through difficulties because then he will feel the ultimate joy.
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