"Push it! Come on, you can do it. Every time you push when you don't want to you are strengthening yourself."

Sweat is pouring from my head onto the ground. I grit my teeth and push. Adrenalin is running through me. I groan loudly, practically screaming.

"Push! Push!"

I fall to the ground, panting. I wish I could push harder, but my muscles are screaming. Crying. I am done.

"Great job, man. I'm really happy with how much you're pushing yourself."

My new roommate is kind of a fitness and health buff. He learned this workout with Diamond Dallas Page. It's hardcore. But I love it.

And now, as I sit here, my muscles already feeling the benefit of just a few workouts, I can't help but look back on something he said: "Every time you push when you don't want to you are strengthening yourself." My muscles hated me during the workout, but they love me now.

And now this maxim is hitting me. I'm starting to realize how much it applies to life. How I can harness it to grow not just my muscles, but also my soul. And my relationship with G‑d.

Sometimes I would rather get a root canal than pray. Sometimes, studying Talmud just seems silly. Sometimes, I want to go get drunk and high and forget I have any responsibilities in life.

But every single time I've ever resisted these urges, every time I push myself beyond what I thought was possible, my soul is further revealed. My heart is opened to the unity of the world. And I climb just a bit higher on that stairway to heaven.

We are all holding each other and dancing in circles, singing on the top of our lungs. Right now, the groom is on someone's shoulders and he is holding hands with his father, who is on another person's shoulders. The music blasts against our ears. But we don't care. We are in a state of absolute euphoria. One of our close friends, one of our fellow students has found his soul mate. He's joined her for life. It's so beautiful, we just want to dance for hours.

And that's what we do.

A week ago, I was covering the war in Gaza. I took a bus to a city that was being pelted with rockets. I looked on as a family mourned a soldier that had died.

And now here I am dancing, so happy, so joyous. It all seems so surreal. What kind of world is this?

Again, something hits me, like I've been smacked upside the head. I look back on how I felt while the war was going on. How hard it felt. How it seemed as if my heart was breaking every time I went on Facebook because I would see all my friends from back home attacking Israel for its actions. But most of all I remember feeling empty. I remember just wanting the war to end, no matter what the consequences, because going to funerals and visiting injured soldiers no longer seemed worth it.

Then this wedding came along. And I realized why were fighting. I realized how important it was to fight through to the end so that my friend could live a life of peace. A life without the constant fear of enemies surrounding him.

And then I see a glimmer of something deeper. Again, I realize how I can harness this lesson. There are times in our lives that seem like total war. Pain can descend from nowhere. People that we once trusted betray us. Why? Illnesses and injuries come from nowhere and knock us to our feet. Why? Parents, friends, family die. Why? It hurts so much.

But then we go to weddings. And somehow, it all seems to make sense. Maybe we can't put it into words. Maybe we don't totally understand it. But, as we work through the pain, as we fight the battles we need to fight, we often end up reaching sparks of light that are as unexpected as the forces of darkness.

And I suppose that's something I learned at the wedding. We can let our own personal wars turn our hearts to stone. We can cut ourselves off from the world, not allowing our souls to breath. Or we can remember why we are here. Remember the beauty of the world, and how that is the ultimate goal. That is what matters, and all the pain, that's just temporary, just there to raise us higher if we let it. If we stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, we can trudge through the mud to get to the other side.

Ever since I was young, I found the world fascinating. Why were things the way they were? Why did we have to have five fingers? Why did colors exist? Why did anything exist at all?

I loved science. I still do. Understanding the way the world works always seems to blow my mind. I especially love theoretical physics. Black holes! String theory! Etc.!

But even science couldn't satisfy my curiosity. It seemed that it only answered my "Why" questions with "How" questions. Why do we have five fingers? Oh, because that's what has helped humans survive the best. Okay... but... why is that?

It was like an episode of Lost. With each answer, there would be an infinite amount of new questions. Would I ever actually get a real answer?

And then my mind opened to spirituality. It started off with a class on Taoism in college. It blew my mind. The way it described the world. The way it showed the reasons behind the reasons excited me so much. It awakened within me a realization that it was possible to find truth.

But still, as aware as I was of the truth being "out there," Taoism never seemed to answer anything. It just opened me to the idea. It was excruciating, and I spent years searching and searching for something that made sense.

And then I walked into a Chabad House. And everything changed. Suddenly, there were answers! Answers that made sense. There weren't teachers avoiding my questions, preachers yelling fake ones at me, or students talking nonsense. Here was the truth. Truth I connected with.

Even when I first touched Judaism, something still seemed missing. I guess the question was still: What is all this? Or, more appropriately, why is all this?

He stands in front of the class, shaking, gesticulating, his arms flying. We all love him.

We are in a class in the Old City. He is teaching us the secrets to the universe. The truth behind music. How to break free from kelipah. What Moshiach is.

And then comes the moment I'll never forget. Fire in his eyes, he says, "The Torah talks about G‑d having hands. Feet. A mouth. Ridiculous! G‑d is without form. He is beyond form. How do we explain this?

"One explanation is that the Torah is using metaphors. We can understand G‑d better when we identify with him. If we anthropomorphize him.

"But the Torah is truth. It can't lie to us! Every word is real.

"So what is the Answer?"

We hold onto our chairs. No one is making a sound.

"The answer is that G‑d does have arms. He does have a mouth. And a hand. He possesses all that we possess and infinitely more. The Answer is that the only Real Thing in this world is G‑d. The Answer—

"...Is that we are the metaphors."

I am a metaphor. All the experiences I've gone through, from every time I've exercised, to the wedding, to my class in the Old City have all been metaphors. They are channels to Truth.

When we learn to access these channels, we are bringing G‑d into our world. We are revealing the infinite.

It is so easy for us to go through our daily lives and simply get used to everything. We begin to think that the how is the why. We think that metaphor is reality and reality metaphor.

But when we access the channels of metaphor and reach Truth and see our experiences for more than what they are, we can break open the shell that covers reality and reveal the G‑dliness within.

Now, instead of exercising, we are touching G‑d. Instead of being consumed with pain we can use it to reach higher. Instead of studying science we can use science to reach reality.

And with each time this infinite reality is revealed, we come closer to making our entire world infinite and truly peeling the shell away so that we will never need it again.

May it happen today.