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The Mishnah states "L'fum Tzara Agra"- the reward is in proportion to the exertion (Avos 5:23):

בֶּן הֵא הֵא אוֹמֵר, לְפוּם צַעֲרָא אַגְרָא:
Ben He He said: According to the labor is the reward.

This applies to matters of spirituality and also to 'afterlife'. My question is then, if someone faces very few challenges in life (and they themselves personally feel that they faced very few challenges), would this mean that they would receive fewer rewards in the 'afterlife' even though they just lived normally and naturally didn't happen to face any troubles in their worldly life? Would it mean that they'd get fewer rewards because their life wasn't difficult and they didn't go out of their way to make it so?

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  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/132287/31534. What makes you think that this has to be external tzara? Why can't it be the amount of amal one puts into one's learning? There's a concept that if one doesn't make one's own amal in their learning, then Hashem (lovingly) brings them tzarot so that what little learning they do is an amal
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 2, 2023 at 8:20
  • @RabbiKaii In the context that I heard this from, it was stated in the form of "the amount of work that one puts, mentally or physically, to endure the sufferrring in this world, they will be rewarded basically equally". So it was more about physical suffering in this world.
    – setszu
    Aug 2, 2023 at 8:47

1 Answer 1

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Modest redefinition:

They'd get fewer rewards because they didn't exert themselves to achieve more than they did given their advantages, not because they didn't go out of their way to make their life difficult.

This is basically the struggle of the צדיק וטוב לו, meaning someone who is

  1. Physically and materially comfortable, without existential crises
  2. Extremely spiritually talented, requiring much less effort to obtain and maintain total self control in the service of G-d than ordinary people
  3. Accustomed to chase G-d's will and avoid negative influences to the extent that simply enjoying life's pleasures without Divine meaning is literally repulsive

This kind of individual does not struggle to follow the Torah, but still must struggle to reach their astronomical potential, and will be rewarded for putting in more effort in doing so.

More generally (but less apparently), any time we decide to push ourselves a little less we would lose out on this.

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  • This was extremely helpful! I am very thankful!!
    – setszu
    Aug 2, 2023 at 5:08

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