Does every cloud really have a silver lining? Is there a blessing in disguise inside every curse? Well, admittedly, it isn’t always so easy to discern, but we most certainly do believe in the concept.

This week’s Torah reading deals with the purification of those afflicted by the strange leprosy-like malady known as tzara’as (a word uncannily similar to tzores!). The Parshah recounts different types of tzara’as manifestations—on a person’s body, in his clothes or even in the walls of his house. In the latter case, if after the necessary quarantine period the stain had still not receded, the stones of the affected wall would have to be removed and replaced with new ones.

Now imagine the walls of your house being demolished. Is that a blessing or a curse? No doubt, the homeowner in question would not feel himself particularly blessed. But, according to our sages, the case was often different for the Israelites living in the Holy Land. The previous Canaanite inhanitants of the land would bury their treasures inside the very walls of their homes. The only way an Israelite would ever discover those hidden valuables was if the stones of the house would be removed. When this happened, it didn’t take long for the poor unfortunate tzara’as-afflicted homeowner to be transformed into the wealthy heir of a newfound fortune. Suddenly his dark cloud was filled with linings of silver, gold and all kinds of precious objects. For him, in a moment, the curse became blessing.

Some time ago, a friend’s business went into liquidation. Naturally, he was absolutely devastated. After a while he opened a new business which, thank G‑d, prospered. He later confessed to me that in retrospect he was able to see how the earlier bankruptcy was truly a blessing. I still remember his words: “Before we were working for the banks; now we are working for our families.”

A woman in my congregation was suffering from heart disease, and the doctors said she needed bypass surgery. But she also had other medical complications which made a heart operation too dangerous to contemplate. Her quality of life was very poor. If she went for a walk, she would have to stop and rest every few minutes. Then, one day, she suffered a heart attack. She was rushed to the hospital and the doctors said her only chance of survival was an emergency bypass operation. There was a 50/50 chance of success, but if they didn’t do it she had no chance at all. They performed the surgery and, thank G‑d, she made a full recovery, enjoying many years of greatly improved quality of life with nachas from children and grandchildren. For years she would joke, “Thank G‑d I had a heart attack. I got my bypass!” It was no joke.

It would be naïve to suggest that it always works out this way. Life isn’t so simple, and sometimes it takes much longer to see the good that is hidden in the traumas and difficulties of life. But we will continue to believe that G‑d is good, that He really does want the best for us, and that one day, with hindsight, we will see how each of our frustrations did somehow serve us well in the long term.

All of us will at one time or another experience disappointments in life. The challenge is to learn from those disappointments and grow from them. Who knows if the wiser, more sensitive person we become is not the silver lining itself?

In general, there are two qualities which form a powerful combination to help us appreciate that there is a hidden goodness inside every misfortune: faith and patience. With faith that there is a higher, better purpose to life, and with patience to bide our time for its revelation, we will be able to persevere and weather the crises of life.

Please G‑d, may we all find our silver linings soon.