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The Battle of the Generation - Day 44

Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation

We must remember that overcoming difficulty is the main purpose of life! Hashem put us in this world for us to accomplish while we are here and then enjoy what we have earned in the World to Come. Hashem’s goal in creation was to give us the greatest pleasure in the next world. So why did He make it so hard for us to choose right? Why didn’t He give us a huge desire to learn and do mitzvos? Why did He create us with bad character traits? Why did He implant within us such strong desire for sin?

The answer is that the point of life in this world is to succeed in the face of challenge (Mesillas Yesharim, Chapter 1). If there would be minimal or no challenge, doing the right thing would not be impressive. That’s why it’s no big deal when angels do good. Nothing pulls them in the wrong direction. Facing spiritual challenges is an opportunity reserved for man alone, and overcoming these challenges is the point of life.

At some point, we come across the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:26): Ben Hei Hei taught, “Lefum tza’ara agra,” which means that heavenly reward is granted in accordance with the level of challenge. We tend not to think too much of it and don’t apply it to our lives. After all, aren’t the people who are doing better the real tzaddikim? Aren’t they “more religious” than those who are less successful? This outlook stops us from appreciating the significance of this principle.

We must overcome this shallow perspective so we can realize the profound significance of this teaching. In Avos D’Rebbe Nosson (3:6), Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yosi relates that a mitzvah done despite difficulty is worth more than a hundred mitzvos done without challenge. Again, a mitzvah done despite challenge is over a hundred times as great as a mitzvah done when it is easy! What an eye-opener! We see that the real greatness is when a person succeeds despite challenges. This is good news for us, because when we win our difficult battles, we acquire numerous acts of greatness and reach astounding levels in the next world! Amazing!