What the Rav said:
A person has many great obstacles to face. Sometimes from his father, his wife, his in-laws or other people. Other people don’t have money or have all sorts of confusions or they’re ill or they don’t feel good.
But, the truth is, the more that a person breaks these obstacles, Rabbenu tells us, the more vessels he’ll have to receive spiritual understanding.
Because, these vessels are created from his yearning. A person that doesn’t yearn has no vessels.
Along comes a gentle breeze, and he is totally uprooted. He can be a tree with numerous branches, but his roots are stunted.
A person who finds everything difficult, plants for himself very deep roots, which means nothing in the world can move him or confuse him.
Even if the world is at war and they drop an atom bomb – he doesn’t care an inch, it doesn’t confuse him. His roots are planted very deep.
No one likes difficulties or hard work, at least I’m speaking for myself. But, we know that we’re going to have to face a fair few obstacles between now and 120.
Sometimes, we may think of these obstacles as just a ‘necessary evil’. Sometimes, we may be able to see that they have been designed by Hashem, specially, to test us or to push us to our limits, and to bring out the best in us.
However, once they’ve passed, we usually just breathe a sigh of relief and don’t look back.
But, the Rav is telling us that these obstacles have a lasting purpose and lasting benefit. They create deep, deep roots to keep us grounded.
At the end of days, chazal say the world will be shaken like a blanket, and we’ll need to hold on tight not to get shaken off.
Then, we’ll see that all those obstacles we overcame are what keep us holding on tight to Hashem.