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The Hidden Beracha in SufferingAnd you shall salt every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt, and you shall not omit the salt of your God's covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings. You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices." [Vayikra 2:13]
R. Shimeon ben Lakish said: The word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with salt, and the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with sufferings: the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with salt, as it is written: Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking. And the word 'covenant' is mentioned in connection with sufferings, as it is written: These are the words of the covenant (Devorim 28:69). Even as in the covenant mentioned in connection with salt, the salt lends a sweet taste to the meat, so also in the covenant mentioned in connection with sufferings, the sufferings wash away all the sins of a man.
Chazal teach us here that suffering is called a covenant. Meaning, they connect the person to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. There are several ways to understand this statement. Let us propose one.
A person lives in a world full of chesed. He doesn't even realize that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is taking care of him. And yet he lives his life with nothing going wrong. Everything is fine. Until one day, one of these gifts is taken away from him. [This in itself is a miracle, because according to the "real" nature of things, the world is perfect. A defect is a miracle.]
Suddenly the person realizes that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is personally watching over him. Everything is a chesed from above. Thus the "suffering" is an expression of a covenant, because at that moment the person remembers and values everything he has.
When a person gets a headache, he should realize that his headache is being sent from Hashem out of the immense love He has for him. With this thought, one will recognize Hashem's chesed. What a tremendous gift a head is! Your head has eyes, ears, and a mouth. From there we can expand the realm of chesed to parnossa, family, etc. What a marvelous time to praise and thank Hashem.
Using this concept, we can understand a possuk in Tehillim: "To the chief Musician, on the death of the son, A Psalm of David (9:1)." Some commentaries explain that this is referring to the death of one of Dovid's sons. This immediately strikes us as very bizarre. How can Dovid Hamelech sing over the death of a son?
Dovid Hamelech had sons. Suddenly, a tragedy strikes, one of his children dies! What does Dovid Hamelech see? He sees that it is not so obvious that a child will live. He can also die. Suddenly he reveals the reality that he has life, and he has children. He uncovered all the goodness that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is doing with him. And so, Dovid Hamelech started singing! (Tiferes Shimshon: Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus on Chumash)
Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
Yeshiva Gedolah Medrash Chaim
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