What is the source for the oft-repeated idea of trying to avoid daily challenges/nisyonos?

As one example, in daily prayers, we say "...וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנוּ...וְלֹא לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן" - "Do not bring us close to... a challenge..." From Torah sources it would seem that facing challenges is an opportunity to accomplish one's purpose as was done by Avraham, Yosef, etc. and it would seem that avoiding daily challenges would deprive one of accomplishing his/her purpose.

  • לא הן ולא שכרן!
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 3:15
  • 2
    @Dr.Shmuel יסורין is not nec. נסיונות. Perhaps this gem. is more appropriate.
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 3:20
  • Was that gem or Gemara
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:41
  • @Dr.Shmuel Was gem. , not gem ;)
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 19:02
  • Perhaps from Lifnei Iver? This is similar to the reason why Chazal strongly warned against taking vows. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


Sanhedrin 107a:

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב לעולם אל יביא אדם עצמו לידי נסיון שהרי דוד מלך ישראל הביא עצמו לידי נסיון ונכשל אמר לפניו רבש"ע מפני מה אומרים אלהי אברהם אלהי יצחק ואלהי יעקב ואין אומרים אלהי דוד אמר אינהו מינסו לי ואת לא מינסית לי אמר לפניו רבש"ע בחנני ונסני שנאמר (תהלים כו, ב) בחנני ה' ונסני וגו'

Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: A person should never bring himself to undergo an ordeal, as David, king of Israel, brought himself to undergo an ordeal and failed. David said before God: Master of the Universe, for what reason does one say in prayer: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, and one does not say: God of David? God said to David: They have undergone ordeals before Me, and you have not undergone an ordeal before Me. David said before Him: Examine me and subject me to an ordeal, as it is stated: “Examine me, Lord, and subject me to an ordeal; try my kidneys and my heart” (Psalms 26:2).

  • This answers why one shouldn't BRING HIMSELF to be tried with an ordeal. This does not answer why we are trying to avoid ordeals/challenges that are coming our way without us bringing these ordeals/challenges on ourselves.
    – user17319
    Commented Feb 10, 2019 at 3:22
  • Logically, it follows that non-premeditated challenges would be even harder to overcome and so it’d make sense to pray we aren’t dealt such ordeals.
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 18:56
  • @oliver generally we assume that Hashem sends us challenges which we are ready for or specifically need. When someone asks for a challenge they are declaring themselves to have achieved a state where that challenge is appropriate, but often we are wrong about such things. Therefore we can assume that a challenge we asked for will often not be appropriate for us because we overestimated ourselves, but a challenge which is sent our way is chosen by Hashem because that is what we need and are ready for.
    – simyou
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 15:27

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