Periodically, throughout the average day, we recite the blessing Boreh Nefashos. We bless Hashem for creating many souls “Vechesronan”, and their deficiencies, their wants. Why do we bless Hashem for creating our wants, our suffering? The answer is simple, yet tremendous. Imagine a person with no wants. He or she has a wonderful marriage, good children, health, wealth and honor. Would they ever cry to Hashem? Would they feel dependent on Hashem, connected as a child to a father? They wouldn’t.
Connection to Hashem and dependence on Him is the essence of our lives. When we bless Hashem for creating people Vechesronan, and their deficiencies, we are referring to the greatest blessing of our lives, our road to Hashem, to a heartfelt relationship with Him. There is nothing that makes us turn to Hashem like suffering. There is nothing that gives meaning to our lives like Vechesronan. Who would want to live without Hashem?
The bracha continues “al kol ma shebarasa”, for all that You have created. “All”, means everything. Every single thing that Hashem gives us is a blessing. That includes every pain, every problem and every want. Everything that we don’t have. It’s all part of Hashem’s blessings with which He showers us at every moment. Then we say, “lehachayos bahem”, to live by them. We live by Hashem’s blessings, the pleasant, as well as the bitter.
It happened once that Napoleon, the great French conqueror, was stationed with his troops in Russia. Wanting to find out the morale of the populace, he disguised himself as a peasant and went with his two bodyguards into a local tavern. One of the Russian drinkers recognized the ruler and exclaimed, “That’s Napoleon! Let’s get him!” Immediately, one of his own bodyguards began to kick Napoleon and to humiliate him. The other Russians laughed and said, “This man can’t be Napoleon. His soldiers would never behave like that toward him.” They promptly dismissed the idea. When Napoleon was safely back in the French camp, his bodyguard fell on his knees, begging forgiveness for his behavior toward the emperor. Napoleon reassured him, “I thank you. You saved my life.”
Usually, humiliation brings on fury. However, Napoleon recognized clearly that his degradation gave him his life. He was grateful for it. So too, do our troubles give us life. We say “lehachayos bahem” because they are our very lifeline to Hashem. How do our troubles give us life?
We can choose to lament our wants and suffer. Or we can turn to Hashem for solace. We then convert our problems into true life. Begging Hashem to fulfill our needs is entering the throne room and experiencing the reality of being Hashem’s beloved child. When we feel dependent on Hashem we become aware that our entire existence is our receiving nourishment directly from Hashem. We feel the contentment of a baby nurtured by a loving parent. That is the great benefit of troubles. When we recognize clearly that our problems and our wants are of great benefit to us, we won’t feel negative. On the contrary, we’ll feel grateful and joyous.
Turning to Hashem also demonstrates our faith in His power. Beseeching Hashem like a beloved child, we experience great joy because we feel Hashem’s love for us and our love for Him. We know that the future will be good and that the present is good. We thank Hashem. The Rambam teaches that a person was created for the sole purpose of thanking Hashem. When we thank Hashem with love and joy we are fulfilling the purpose for which Hashem created us. This is our greatest joy, our greatest achievement. It all comes from Vechesronan.
In this way, we can spin our pain into gold. We know that wants and suffering are the road to Hashem, the road to true life. We will treasure our spiritual gold, our relationship with Hashem, so greatly that we’ll be bursting with gratitude as we thank Hashem for Vechesronan.
(From my Wife)