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Dealing With Difficulty

Dealing With Difficulty

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Question:

Things are getting way too hard. I can’t see how I’m going to get through this—there’s just no way. Why is G‑d throwing all this at me when He knows I can’t possibly handle it?

Answer:

You haven’t told me what the troubles are, and I respect your wish to keep that to yourself. Working in the dark, then, all I can give you is the counsel that our sages gave long ago—and since they are sages of Torah, their advice stands for every situation for every person.

The sages of the Talmud taught us that “according to the camel is the load.” G‑d knows His camels—He made them, and He leads them through life. He knows just how much each one can take, and He doesn’t load any one up with any more than he can handle.

These are not problems you are having. These are loads. A camel-driver loads his camel because something needs to be done with that load. The same with you: you are put in this world to accomplish certain missions and you are given exactly the load that your soul is meant to handle, no less and no more.

There is one difference, however: When the camel driver loads the camel, his interest is in the merchandise, not the camel. G‑d’s principal interest is in your soul. In this way, the load He gives you is more like the weights a fitness coach might wrap on your wrists and ankles—not to slow you down, but on the contrary, to make you stronger and faster.

So, too, think of G‑d as your personal trainer, and these “problems” as the hurdles He is putting you through, only in order that you can go higher and higher, to a level to which you could never have imagined yourself.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for Chabad.org

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Anonymous canada November 25, 2014

shalom i've read the top subject. it is wonderful, but i have a question.
i may be wrong, but here is the question. I thought that people who suicide they took more load than they can handle, and that's a part of my depression. please correct me. Reply

Anonymous November 4, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Shalom,

As a person who had such toughts i cam to see that rather than the load it's more about a lack of faith. Because I saw that after waiting long, at the uttermost depth that I thought would never imagine, miracles came one after the other. We cannot judge G-d, G-d judges us. Reply

Les Abramovitz Rochester, .Y. March 19, 2014

Camel analogy Comforting to some degree. Ironically I can trace the trail I've walked and see how I was prepared for the heavy load I have in caring for my wife of 47 years suffering with ALS.
This is a mission from above I didn't sign up for but am blessed to be handling it over the past 6 years. Reply

Anonymous Palm city January 20, 2014

Question How come Gd won't let me heal and get over being sick. Instead he throws do much at me for being sick that right now I have a leg infection that goes down the whole leg and foot which is very swollen . I'm in constant pain. I have prayed for help I've tried to do other thing but alas no help. Do He must be royally mad at me me for going through this Reply

Anonymous GALVESTON January 20, 2014

This Article popped up on my Facebook timeline today 1/20/2014 I fully grasp the concept of G-d not giving us greater loads or challenges than we can handle. I have experience great reward in my career life and very good income. However, three times, I have held good positions and just at the time I am becoming financially solvent, I get knocked out of the job (once due to corporate merger, and twice due to the assistance of rivals who wanted my position and worked against me). I have had to give up homes, reduce my standard of living to accommodate lower income, and start over. Each time, it takes me about 5 years to recover and regain my financial footing. Why is this? I know no economy is always on an upward trajectory, but why do I get knocked so far back on the economic ladder? Reply

Marty Denver October 9, 2013

Where is the wisdom? I’m reminded of a comedian who satirized the concept that G-d doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Pretending to be G-d she said, “Oh, look at that person suffering. He is coping with it. Yep, I can turn up the heat some more.”
Rabbi, you talk about people exercising free choice when they commit suicide. I would bet that most people who kill themselves are so overwhelmed and feel so hopeless that they feel driven to do so, they see their situation as not having a choice.
Whatever lessons we need to learn in life, couldn’t G-d teach us in a loving, gentle manner?
Rather than praise G-d as we suffer, why not do as our forefathers Abraham and Moshe? Hold G-d accountable. “Will the G-d of justice” stand by when good people suffer and evil triumphs? Is G-d abiding by His covenant with us, that we will benefit in the here and now if we obey His laws? Reply

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman via palmbeachjewish.com October 9, 2013

Too big a load To a lot of the people who left rather pessimistic notes here: Perhaps the entire purpose of coming to this world is so that you will discover powers you would never imagine you could have.

Perhaps, we come to this world not so much to learn to believe in G-d— we had that before we came here—as to learn to believe in our own selves. Reply

Mark Stephan New York October 9, 2013

Garden of Eden On the light side, my father and I was discussing this very topic: G-d does not give us any more than we can handle... my father's response was, " He has me mixed up with someone else!".
I have been struggling for years on so many facets of my live, yet thanks G-d I'm still here both physically and mentally. Recently I was relaxing in my back yard, I asked HaShem for a little one on one-I am fearful and filled with anxiety, I need to understand why I can't feel positive, be loving and not just have faith but to trust
that everything is all right. Well- an answer came to me as I started to realize the beauty staring at me-the trees, sky and the sounds of the birds... I was sitting in the Garden of Eden. with that a thought- we never left the Garden of Eden, only our perception clouds reality -we can see our world in the G-d state it is in or we view the world as a dark and unforgiving place. To all of us that are in need, let's move back into the Garden of Eden. Reply

David Levant Emerson, NJ October 8, 2013

Free Will vs. No Free Will G-D created the world and everything in it, and we are his. Here there exists no free will, it is an absolute truth. The choices we make in life are ours to make alone, here is where free will exists. The closer your will is in agreement with G-d's will the greater and stronger one will become. Reply

Anonymous nj October 8, 2013

Two Headed This is a hot topic, unfortunately. The standard "Life's not fair" doesn't get the job done.

I find I have to be "Two-headed" about this. From what we can see, it is harsh and unfair just as it is to my kids when they get a consequence for misbehavior, my intention as a parent to have them grow as a person so they don't make that mistake again.

We are like spiritual teenagers. It still is harsh and unfair. But we have a glimpse of what our parents are up to.

Greek/European thought has one answer to a question. Talmud can take school of Hillel and Shammai's dichotomous answers and say This AND this are the word of God. One of the ways of thought that has enabled us to think outside the box in Nobel Prize winning science.

If we're 2 headed: 1.There is our reality: bad things to good people is harsh and unjust. 2.And there is the reality of Avinu Malkeinu: the parent who has only our good at heart even if beyond our sight. This eases our pain, knowing it is for our good. Search for G-d's intent. Reply

anonymous pb gardens, fl via palmbeachjewish.com October 7, 2013

Free Choice?? G-d knows everything supposedly so G-d knows how we will choose before we choose. I don't see how that fits in with the notion of free choice.I think it's an illusion we have free choice. We make plans and G-d laughs. Reply

Anonymous Anaheim, CA via chabadlosal.com October 5, 2013

I have had enough training! I try to believe that things will get better, but they are only getting worse. I have been going through problems since 2010 and I am now alone, having to move because I am losing my home, and I am penniless. I have disappointed everyone II know because I was always the strong one that took care of everyone but there is no one left for me. If God is training me then I only think he itraining me to die alone. I have wanted to believe but everything only became worse. Reply

Anonymous PB Gardens, Fl via palmbeachjewish.com October 4, 2013

With all due respect I found your comments naive I have spent 61 years praying to G-d about my load. My mother was the load, the toxic load. She died a few days ago. I will not mourn her passing but will mourn the mother I never had. I was not the daughter she would have liked and she was not the mother I needed. She did more damage to me than any human could. If I died tomorrow I would ask my G-d, why... why ...For me it is all an exercise in futility. I pray if I return to this world I will have an amazing mother for me instead of the toxic mother my G-d gave me. P.S. G-d gave me more than I could handle and it broke me in body and soul. Reply

Anonymous St. Paul, MN/USA via chabadofsarasota.com October 4, 2013

difficulties Gee, those who perished in the Holocaust must all have been very extraordinary that they merited to face torture, starvation and eventually murder. Did passing on mean they overcame their challenges? Reply

David Levant Emerson,NJ October 2, 2013

I agree G-D does not give us more than we can handle, that makes sense. However,some people will deliberately give you more you can handle for manipulation purposes. Information is a huge commodity, and the one's that possess it will give you more than you can handle until they get what they want out of you. These people will always overlook something no matter how intelligent they think they are. They are selfish, and that makes them weak. Baruch Hashem! Reply

Anonymous October 2, 2013

Timely!! Thank you sooo much. Just last night before I went to sleep, I was speaking to God and asking him why are things so difficult, why am I seemingly under so much pressure. Reply

Joseph D. Connecticut October 1, 2013

Difficulty It appears Hashem is "training" me for some type of Olympic competition...enough already! B"H..... trying :<) Reply

Anonymous October 1, 2013

Easy for the driver/trainer, not the camel My Rabbi said a similar thing: "HaShem only gives us tests He knows we can pass." I joked back "I wish He didn't trust me so much!" To Reb Zusha even "concealed good" was revealed; despite a harsh life he never said the prayer for when bad things (concealed good) happen. He was able to see it all as "revealed good." Not so we baal teshuvim. May G-d give us all the insight of Reb Zusha and the insight and mazel of Yehudah HaNasi! Reply

Jean Indianapolis October 1, 2013

Dealing with difficulty A message that is both timely and timeless. One factor that wasn't addressed was that a camel generally doesn't add to his load, but humans tend to do so. They worry, they panic, they imagine the worst outcomes are inevitable and in doing so, they short-circuit any inspiration or insight they might receive by working through their situations. Camels focus on moving forward, getting rid of the load and enjoying a rest and some food. Reply

Anonymous September 29, 2013

Thank you for your reply to my comment.... I read this message just in time. Thank you. Reply

Anonymous September 29, 2013

Dealing with difficulty
Often , much of our energy is dispersed in multiple directions, if left untended.
To overcome something requires single mindedness and dedicated , conscious focus to get to that place. The other choice is to become the camel with a broken back. I feel that Zen and Kabbalah is so similar in this respect.
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