I often think about the people who went through the concentration camps run by the Nazis, and many of the other horrific things that Jewish people have been subjected to throughout the ages. I understand that for whatever reason, these things needed to happen, and Hashem must have only been doing it for some reason that was ultimately good. However, it makes me think that many of these people were far greater than me and if it could happen to them, it could happen to me, and that makes me scared. On an intellectual level, I feel like I should say "if that is what Hashem wants of me, I need to accept that", but at an emotional level, I feel scared that it is possible that one day I (and/or my family) might need to deal with something incredibly unpleasant and as a mere human I don't want that.

For clarification, this isn't a question about why do things happen like this. It is a question about how do we cope with the idea that it could happen to us? Specifically, I'm looking for sources that cover this specific topic.

1 Answer 1


There’s a famous pshat that’s said over from the Skulener Rebbe zt”l that says Hashem specifically gives a person strength to withstand any trial or tribulation that is given. Even if a person can’t fathom surviving something emotionally beforehand, when it happens Chas Veshalom, Hashem gives special koach to get through.

When the Skulener Rebbe was imprisoned in Rumania, he determined to use his time wisely. He began to review all the daily prayers, to insure that when he would pray he would do so knowing the full meaning and intent of every word. When he reached a certain phrase, "Baruch gozer u'mekayem ("Blessed is He who decrees and fulfills – from the Baruch She'amar blessing), he was a bit puzzled. Generally, when we talk about a decree, we are referring to what we perceive of as a negative, seemingly evil phenomenon. Why then do we thank Him for carrying out evil decrees?

"I will not leave this prison cell, even if I am freed, until I uncover the meaning behind this phrase." The Skulener pondered this phrase for days and days, attempting to ascertain exactly what was the intent of this prayer. He even announced, "I will not leave this prison cell, even if I am freed, until I uncover the meaning behind this phrase."

Finally, insight came; revelation dawned upon him. The word "fulfills" does not refer to the Al-mighty who issues the decrees — the subject of the verse. It refers to mankind, the object. G‑d enacts the decree and also gives (or has given) us the strength to endure it, to withstand the trial. In understanding this verse, we must read it, "Blessed is He who decrees and enables us to fulfill."

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