Thursday, October 30, 2008

Transcending Pain

Chazal teach that one may place a vessel beneath a leak even on Shabbos so as to avoid damage from dripping water. The Mekor Chaim, zt”l, explains that this dripping symbolizes the incessant nature of yesurim that seem to linger on endlessly. One must make oneself a fitting vessel to receive suffering by refraining from complaining or feeling resentful against the Creator for them. How is it possible to actually do this, though?
Rebbe Aizik’l of Kaliv, zt”l, suffered from chronic illness. Despite this, it was well known that he never complained and was always very positive. His pains were so obviously oppressive that it astounded everyone who came in contact with him that he could bear them at all, much less maintain a positive attitude in the face of them. It seemed hardly human that he could transcend his physical suffering to such a degree.
Once, the Rebbe’s doctor, who had certainly seen his share of hard cases, asked his patient how he bore up with such fortitude.
“I simply don’t understand,” the doctor said, “What gives you the strength to bear your pain for such a long period of time?”
The Rebbe responded, “You have to look at it as I do. All the pain that was, is already gone. The pain that is yet to come is not here to bother me, so why should I let it get me down? The only thing I need to bear is this one moment’s pain. Is it really worth getting upset about one instant of suffering?”

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