Shlomo Ezagui

Training the mind to see – only good. The antidote to hardships

See Good. (Shutterstock)

Many times, just when we finally make up our minds to move ahead in life and to move in the right direction, we are challenged with more difficulties, more struggles, more obstacles.

Abraham, at 75 years old, accepts his first real mission from God. And on his journey toward Israel to fulfill God’s commandment, he is confronted with a famine. His wife, Sarah, is abducted and taken prisoner by the Pharaoh of Egypt. You could not find a more spiritual or Godlier couple, committed and willing to do what is right, so how are they rewarded with such hardships?

Why is life sometimes so difficult and challenging? Can’t God leave us alone?

By nature, when things are too easy, we tend to sit back and become complacent. For most of us, lighting the proverbial fire underneath us is the only way to get us off our backs. Challenges push a person to bring the best out of himself. That is just the way it works.

Mysticism discusses the nature of this Universe as being inherently kind and good. When God decided to create this world, there was no one to deserve or earn His kindness, and He did it anyway. “The world was created with the attribute of kindness.” That means that even if something appears to be going downwards, it must be part of a process of kindness, going upwards and getting better since God is good. All that He does is ALWAYS excellent, with no inadequacies or deficiencies.

To be honest with oneself, it is necessary to acknowledge that only God knows what is truly good or bad. We often experience negative things, and we discover they were the catalyst for something very positive. How many people have lost jobs only to find better opportunities?

Many times, what we think is positive becomes the reason for something very negative. How many people have won lotteries only to curse the day they won all that money? Our scope of vision is finite and limited, and in truth, we can never be sure what is truly good and what may be truly bad for us.

When a person relies on God’s infinite wisdom and goodness, by developing their muscle of faith and trust, we are catapulted into an entirely different way of viewing the world and our lives.

A person who understands that the nature and character of the world are inherently good and a blessing from a source that is positive, benevolent, and trustworthy, and who develops this faith by using his intellect to strengthen himself, never encounters problems. Everything in his life must be another experience presented as an opportunity for something positive.

God chose Abraham and Sarah to go on His mission because God knew they understood this concept and would seek the bright side, the kernel of good, in all that they would encounter. And so it was. The famine led them toward Egypt, which occasioned the kidnapping of Sarah, which then led to the great gifts Pharaoh lavished upon Abraham and Sarah. They became exceedingly rich from their travails.

This is the lesson for all of us. We must train our minds, and our hearts will always follow to see the blessing or at least have the patience and faith to eventually see a benefit in all things that happen in our lives. When we look at life in this fashion, we are guaranteed to see the good in all that happens quickly, and life becomes better!

Chapter 26

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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