I am freezing! I moved to South Florida because it was supposed to be beautiful weather, but this week it has been in the 30s and 40s and I do not like it. Why does Hashem need to send us cold weather? Why can’t it always be sunny and a pleasant 70 degrees?
This week’s parsha begins the second of the five books of the Torah, Shemos, and begins with talking about our slavery in Egypt. Rav Avigdor Miller, of blessed memory, questions why couldn’t Hashem enslave the Jews in Canaan (Eretz Yisrael)? Why did our ancestors need to go to Egypt first and then travel in the desert for 40 years before coming to Eretz Yisrael? Rav Miller gives a very true answer: people appreciate things more when they experience it for the first time. The Jews had so much joy upon entering Eretz Yisrael because they were not were not living there. If they had always been in Eretz Yisrael, they would not have had much joy; it was only because of the suffering they experienced outside the Land that they realized how great the Land really was.
Maybe this is the reason we suffer in life: so we can have more satisfaction later in life. Maybe this is the reason why South Florida is so cold this week: to remind us living here how much we should appreciate the good weather we have. If it was always the paradise-type weather we experience most of the year, then we would begin to lose the appreciation for it. Hashem, therefore, takes away our nice weather for a few days each year so we can remind ourselves how nice it is to live where we do.
After we left Egypt, every day for our forty year tour of the desert, “mon” fell from the sky. “Mon” tasted like anything you wanted it to, and no matter what you chose, it was extremely healthy. Imagine, you could eat donuts every single day and not need to worry about starting an exercise program. This would be like a dream come true. But after a short time of the day-in and day-out of “mon”, not only did the Jews not appreciate it anymore, but they began to complain about it. They wanted “normal” food. The first day the “mon” fell, they were all extremely excited and overjoyed over their luck. As the days wore on and things were the same every day, they became used to the “mon” and stopped appreciating it. People need change and even suffering to be able to appreciate what they have.
We can see this idea in so many things in life. Anytime we go through some type of suffering, we should see it as a reminder of all of the things we have to be thankful for. I am not going to say we should look forward to or pray for suffering, but if we view suffering in this way, we will live much happier lives.
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