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Is G-dly Intervention a Sign that my Reward is in this world

Rabbi Ari ShvatShevat 26, 5772
255
Question
I have always learned that "why does suffering fall upon the good, righteous people"? Because Hashem loves them so much that he sends them challenges to give them the opportunity to grow closer to Him; and he waits for their prayers to Him... While on the other hand, He rewards those that would seem unworthy in this world, because He doesn’t want to ’’bother " with them... I’ve had my share of challenges (a very difficult divorce), and B"H have come out of it, when nobody ever thought it to be possible. While I continue to face some small challenges, I am very blessed to have Hashem’s listening ear! Every time I ask Hashem to help me with a specific challenge, He always does (in some very unbelievable ways-I might add)! I feel as if I B"H have a direct line to G-d! While on one hand, I feel as if I must have a special Zchus to merit this, on the other hand I am a bit concerned. Of course I pray that G-d should always answer my prayers so readily, but how does this interpret to me-in terms of the aforementioned. Do I need to worry about my level of spirituality? Or is it not a contradiction when Hashem rains good fortune on good people as well? I hope you can clarify this point for me. Thank you
Answer
Hashem Imach, You ask a very good question, but you also answer it yourself. Life is full of challenges, and it is up to us to use all of them to grow. That’s why chazal teach us to bless Hashem for (what seems to us to be) good, as well as for (what seems to us to be) bad (Brachot 33b), because it’s really all for the good. You clearly have undergone hardships and challenges which would have easily brought others down to despair, self-pity, and pessimism. Instead, you clearly focus on the positive, and thank Hashem for His help. Challenges which other's would see as punishment, you see as G-dly intervention! There’s a similar story of a Jew who wanted to learn how to deal with difficulties, so the Rebbe sent him to Rav Zusia, the poor. Upon his question, answered Rav Zusia, “I don’t know why the Rebbe sent you to me, for I have so many blessings from Hashem, and don’t have any difficulties!” In addition, Hashem is perfect and despite what you may have learned in your childhood, he doesn’t “need” our prayers, just as He doesn’t need anything! Similarly, there is no one whom He doesn’t “want to bother with”. He cares about all His children (if you have children you clearly understand this), yet some of them prefer living in only the physical realm, and prefer their “reward” and pleasure in this world- so that’s what He gives them, while the more righteous can enjoy their reward sometimes in this world, and always in the world to come. Prayer is in place of the korbanot (sacrifices), which is from the word “karov”, for us to feel close to Him, which is one of the greatest levels and feelings that anyone can achieve. The closest we can understand about G-d, is like a parent who educates His child, through love and giving, but also through sometimes saying “No”, and sometimes guiding us towards and through challenges that seem to be bad, but it’s all in our best interest, as you yourself have felt. That’s part of His being perfect. In short, thank G-d that you appreciate the good that He gives you, because many people don’t, and just focus on the “half-empty” cup. Thank G-d that you feel that direct connection with Him, for that is one of the main goals in life. More so, if you can use your positive and appreciative attitude, as well as your appreciation for the power and benefit of tfila (prayer), in order to help others overcome their challenges, you would mamash be “karov” and G-dly. You have nothing to worry about, for as is often the case, when you grow older, you learn that we were taught as children simplistic concepts, which need to be learned again on a higher and truer adult level. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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