By Rav Simcha Klein
ואבדתם את שמם מן המקום הזה
The Jewish people’s first injunction upon entering Eretz Yisroel was to find and destroy all vestiges of idolatry. It is very obvious that at that time Eretz Yisroel was a hub for idol worship. Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier and less challenging for the Jews if the choice for their home land was not an idol ridden land?
We live in a culture where “ease” is the name of the game. Millions upon millions of R&D dollars are spent in making every area of life easier. From disposable dishes and GPS to touch screens and online shopping, society is obsessed with making things easier. Difficulty in any area of endeavor is frowned upon.
The spiritual world simply does not work like that. On the contrary, the easier something is the less growth there will be. The fertilizers of spiritual growth are challenges. Think about a person’s muscles, they will be strengthened exactly proportionate to the heaviness and difficulty of the weights he is using. Or visualize screwing something into a wall, if there is no resistance that screw probably won’t hold for long.
The Jewish people were purposely thrust into an environment of spiritual difficulty. Because only through overcoming adversity where they truly able to grow!
To counteract our natural infatuation with “ease”, it behooves us to constantly reiterate this vital message to ourselves and to our children. Challenges are to be cherished for they are the keys to our spiritual success.
May we all merit to overcome our specific and unique life challenges.