There is no doubt that achieving happiness despite difficult circumstances in life is an enormous challenge. Yet, the Talmud teaches that God does not give anyone tests they can not overcome. The word  in Hebrew for test is nisayon, whose root nes means “to lift up.” The nature of a test is to force us to extend ourselves beyond what we think we are capable of. When we succeed we are lifted up to an entirely new spiritual level. The same root also means “miracle.” When we do our part in overcoming adversity and go beyond our present capabilities we open ourselves up to the possibility of small, or even large, personal “miracles.”

     I am always amazed and inspired by those who are physically challenged, yet seem to be well adjusted, accepting of their circumstances and determined to get on with life. I often wonder if I was in their situation if I could rise to the occasion.

     In Kabbalah this world is called the “world of rectification.” A basic belief in Judaism is that nothing happens without a reason and purpose, even if it is beyond our ability to understand. Therefore, all difficulties in life have a purpose and are meant ultimately to lead to a state of rectification. When one realizes this then the bigger picture of human suffering becomes more clear and easier to deal with.

     Kabbalah explains that many circumstances of suffering and physical impairments are rooted in previous lives. Therefore that which may be a ”curse” may in truth be an opportunity to clear the slate and rectify that which needs to be corrected. Only God knows these ultimate truths, but each person must try to deal with the hand they were dealt in the belief that it is all for the good.