Rav Akiva was one of the greatest lights to ever reach this world. When the Romans seized him and were about to flay the flesh from his body, one of his students came to him and said, “Rav Akiva, you are so great and so powerful! How can God let this happen to you?”
The great kabbalist replied, “Go away, snake! All my life I have been waiting for the opportunity to prove my certainty in the Light-force of God. Now, at last, this is my chance.”
Rav Akiva understood that his great difficulty was actually a test for his certainty in the Creator, a test of the highest order. Thankfully, most of us are not at that level to need endure such a test. But how many times do we recognize our challenges as tests that will build our strength and bring us closer to the Creator’s Light? How often do we keep and use our spiritual awareness in our daily lives?
Indeed, not one of us knows the number of our days. We can even go so far as to say that the moment we are born into this world, we are terminal. The question, then, is how do we fill and use the time that we have between birth and death to not only enhance the Light-force in ourselves but also to promote it in the world? How often do we think and act in accordance with this consciousness?
We never know how much time we have left on this earth. Who is closer to death: the young girl walking in the street who gets hit by a car or the old man suffering from cancer at the age of 80? We don’t know. The point is to live with the understanding that each and every day is a test of life.