The Takeover

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We just entered the secular New Year hoping to put aside the struggles of 2020 and prepare for the joys of 2021. Each year on the night of December 31st, over one million people descend on Times Square to revel as a new year ascends. This year, the pandemic changed the course and the festivities for the post part virtual. The Orthodox Jewish world frowns on these celebrations and many set aside extra time to study the Torah on this night.

The Kotzker Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, Poland, made a profound statement. The Rebbe began by explaining that every individual in the world faces their own challenges. Furthermore, everyone grumbles about their hardships and difficult situations.

Let’s imagine if everyone were to take their complaints and struggles, and put them all into Times Square, NYC, prior to the pandemic when the area was bustling with people of all walks of life. Now imagine that once our pain and troubles are gathered in this epicenter, we are each told wander around Times Square and pick the discomfort that they desire.

The Kotzker Rebbe guaranteed that if such a scenario were to play out, every single person would choose their own hardships from the lot. Nobody wants to take on someone else’s pain and nisyonot, trials of faith in life. After a person gets through the complaining, they will naturally accept their hardships and challenges.

One may ask, “Why is this?” The answer is not that complicated. Hashem gives each one of us a custom, personalized test in life. Additionally, He gives every one of us the capabilities and kochot, strength, to overcome our tests. Hashem would never put a person in a situation that they could not emerge safely. So, the next time you are facing a difficult situation, know that just like Hashem custom tailored the test for you, He also gave you the necessary strength and resources for you to pass the test.

By Rabbi Yaakov Rahimi