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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Challenges make you stronger, wiser, greater

Daf Yomi Yevamos 84

My friend Moshe was married to a lovely girl, Fraidy.  They were married for just six months when they suddenly received the terrible news that she had cancer and only another few months to live.   After she passed, he was devastated and didn’t know how he could go on with his life.  Eventually, he pulled through and has since dedicated his life to counseling people dealing with grief.  He has remarried and today has five beautiful children.

The Mishnah states: Rabbi Eliezer taught, “One is liable for copulation with an androgynous individual, as with a male.”
It was taught in a Beraisa: Rebbe said, “When I went to learn Torah at the yeshiva of Rabbi Elazar ben Shamua, his students ganged up on me like Beis Bukia chickens and all I was able to learn was this one teaching from our Mishnah that Rabbi Eliezer says that one is liable for copulation with an androgynous individual as with a male.”

We all have challenging experiences in life.  Even Rebbe, Rabbi Judah the Prince, who compiled the Mishnah, tried a certain yeshiva but left it because he felt bullied.  Sometimes when you have a bad experience, you want to try to forget everything that happened and move on.  Listen to Rebbe’s reaction to the experience: instead of putting it completely out of his mind, he asked himself, ‘Why did G-d send me here?’  And after racking his brain, he realized, ‘Hey, I might not have gained much out of my time there, but I do recall one thing that Rabbi Elazar taught.  Clearly, that’s why the Almighty sent me there!’

Every ordeal that you go through in life has been Divinely ordained.  If you find yourself in a negative space, G-d decreed that you should be there.  You need to ask yourself why.  What did He want you to learn from the experience?  How did you become a better person?  My friend Moshe utilized his pain and suffering to help others through their grief.  Now he knows what they are experiencing and feeling and he can help them get through it.

You may have dealt with serious trials and tribulations in your life.  You want to put them completely behind you, but the Almighty sent you those challenges for a reason.  You have become a better, stronger, wiser individual.  Now it’s time to help others dealing with their issues.


Everything the Almighty does is for a reason.  You are who you are because of life’s challenges.  May you have the merit to utilize every experience, for better or worse, in helping others and serving the Almighty!