Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
PURIM - Thanking G-d for Our Struggles
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 08:31:10 PM
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This week was Purim Katan, thus a Purim article is appropriate.

During the festival of Purim we recite the Al Hanisim prayer. The prayer reads, "and for the miracles and for the salvations and for the mighty deeds and for the victories and for the wonders and for the consolations and for the BATTLES which You performed for our ancestors in those days, at this time."

In this declaration of thanks, we use many expressions of gratitude for the wonders and miracles and salvations and so forth. However, why do we end the phrase thanking G-d for the battles? I can understand thanking G-d for the victories from the battles, but why should we thank G-d for the actual battles themselves? Why is that also a gratitude and appreciation?

One inherent outcome of fighting battles is that we are forced to grow. Fighting the battles of life brings out the best in us. Only when the going gets tough, do the tough get going. Israel became the great Start-Up Nation and leader of life-saving techniques and inventions and medical wonders BECAUSE of all of our wars and all the terrorist attacks against us. These tragic events forced Israel to adapt and as a result we came up with these incredible, wondrous innovations and inventions that have saved countless lives all over the world. Whenever and wherever disaster strikes anywhere in the world, Israel is always there with a First Response Team. This is one of the reasons for expressing gratitude to G-d that we should focus on, this Purim.

Whatever challenges and hardships we are each individually facing, whether they be familial, inter-personal or communal, they have been uniquely given to us, carefully designed by G-d, to enhance our spiritual growth and achievement. It is only through our struggles that we can grow, progress, and reach greater levels and heights of Kedusha.

On Purim, we thank G-d for our victories, but we also thank Him for our struggles - for through them we can progress to become truly great and reach our maximal spiritual potential. As the Mishnah in Avot teaches, "according to the pain is the gain." Or, NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

Therefore, this Purim, let us all focus not only on the real victories but also on the real battles in our personal lives. May our personal struggles and efforts hasten the Final Redemption and coming of Moshiach speedily in our time.

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