Previously, we mentioned that every single soul that comes down into this world needs to bring about its own Tikkun, that is, its own reparation to a part of the world that is flawed. These flaws can be as old as the beginning of time.
In order to bring about this reparation we all have to go through certain struggles in our life. In this essay, let’s explore the different categories of struggle that might be related to one’s mission in life. The more we understand why we might encounter these struggles, the more likely it is that we will navigate our way through it with the correct attitude and perspective.
Although struggles come in many different forms, most struggles fall into one of the following categories.
1) Character Flaws a.k.a Bad Middot
We have all got ‘em. In Hebrew our emotions are called Middot, and negative character traits are often referred to as “bad middot”. Often these flaws in our character cause us to act inappropriately and to hurt our relationship with others as well as with God. Included in this might be a burning lust for inappropriate sexual encounters, a bad temper, lack of ambition, excessive fear, greed etc.
Bad middot is something that we all struggle with, yet certain people might feel that they have an overload of one specific trait that haunts them more than the others, and more than other people. In this area we fall again and again, and it seems that there is no shortage of triggers for this behavior. It might be that this specific trait is somehow intertwined with our Tikkun in the world and it is through working on this specific trait that we will accomplish bringing about our Tikkun.
2) Life’s Tests
Our Sages teach us that our forefather Avraham underwent ten tests and passed all of them. What lesson are we to learn from this? In Jewish tradition anything that happened in the lives of our forefathers set the stage for what will happen to their children. The Torah only told us about the 10 tests of Avraham because from him we learn that every single one of us must go through tests in our life to bring about our Tikkun.
May times in our life we are faced with difficult decisions between what we know is right and what we feel like doing. Often we must make painful sacrifices for the sake of growing spiritually. These are all part of the tests that we might face, that are part of our Tikkun.
Why do bad things happen to good people? What mystery of life is greater than this one? But every single person needs to go through some share of suffering in this world, some great and some small, to bring about some kind of reparation to the Neshama. It can be financial troubles, health issues, or- God forbid- loss of a loved one, but all of that relates to something greater than we can understand.
For some souls, their mission can be to come on this planet for a very short time; a week, a year, a few years, and then be taken away from the world. For this pure soul, this short time on this world might be all it needs to accomplish its mission, for the others that are affected by it, the pain and suffering is tremendous. This, too, related to their own mission and what they need to accomplish.
As we go through life and encounter any of these struggles, we should keep in mind that something big in our lives is taking place. This could in fact be why we were put here in this world and we should approach it with love. This is our place to shine. And to, once again, quote the great Rav Tzadok“The areas where a person struggles most are the areas where he is destined for greatness if he chooses to put in the effort.”