Is the world a good place or a bad place? That depends. It depends on how willing you are to crack open the nuts.

You see, the Zohar describes our world as an orchard of luscious fruits and exotic nuts. Sounds fantastic, right? But there’s a problem with an orchard: Those delicious treats often come packaged in thick, coarse shells. Think coconut grove. You could be real hungry in a coconut grove.

And that’s just the beginning of the problem. The real problem begins when we start messing with those shells, giving them more substance than they deserve, as though the whole point of the fruit is to support the shell around it.

Fruits are the real meaning of life, the things we came into life to get done. Shells are the background, the stage where all that gets done. Don’t mix foreground and background. You’ll end up with a poorly cracked walnut situation. You don’t want to eat one of those. That’s when those shells become truly sinister.

The true purpose of those shells is a good one—to protect the fruit inside them so that it can mature and sweeten, until the time comes for us to break open the shell and release that fruit. And then, even the shell can become useful.

Here’s an example:

Going to work each day, fighting rush-hour traffic, putting up with callous employers, handling angry clients and getting along with incompetent colleagues can be a real pain. Look for the fruit inside, and all that pain can vanish.

The fruit is the purpose behind your work: Dealing with the world in an ethical, dignified and humane way. Setting priorities, such as times for studying Torah and time for your family. Dealing with clients with integrity, so that you provide people real value, leaving the world a better place than when you started. And then using the money you earn for good things, such as charitable causes, a Torah education for your kids, and a wonderful Shabbat meal with lots of guests.

That’s called peeling away the husk and getting to the juice inside. And once you find that juice, celebrate it, so that everything becomes so much sweeter.