Kabbalistic Concepts

The Gift Behind Our Troubles

There is a kabbalistic story about a man who was put in charge of a kingdom while the king was away. The king’s advisors were so jealous of this man that they beat him up one afternoon as he was going about his duties in the palace. When the king returned later that day and found his trusted friend beaten and bleeding on the ground, he asked, "What happened to you?"

The man replied, “When you left, everyone was jealous of me and they beat up!”

“How many times did they hit you?” asked the king.

“Thirty-six times,” replied the man.

Hearing this, the king took out 36 gold coins and gave them to the man: one gold coin for every time the man had been hit.

When the man returned home, he was crying. When his wife, confused, asked him why he was crying now, he said, “Why didn’t they beat me more?”

The point of this parable is not, God forbid, that we should all ask to be beaten. But the story does challenge us to look at our difficulties from a different perspective and to appreciate them for what they truly are: opportunities to reveal more of our potential in this world. How many of us really seek out challenges or uncomfortable situations because we see them as golden opportunities to change or grow our consciousness or to motivate us to do more for ourselves and others?

Whatever is happening in our lives is actually there to bring us to the next level. Our consciousness must constantly be: I don’t know why I have to take this road, but I do know that this is the road that’s going to make things better in the end.

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