The Meaning of Agony
Q: Why does the Creator force His creatures to suffer if He really wants to endow them with “eternal heaven?”
A: Man has asked that question since he was first created and in every generation since. There is no answer to this question.
Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag writes that it is impossible to understand the outcome of a process or assess it correctly when we are at its beginning, or its middle. Only after we have gone the whole way, and are at the end of the process, can we relate correctly to everything that happened along the way.
There is a good reason for the popular saying, “Do not show a full job half done.” Only those who go the whole way will acquire enough wisdom to correctly appreciate everything that has occurred.
Moving forward along the spiritual path creates the sensations we need to help us attain the final result: the sensation of eternity and perfection. It cannot be any other way.
So why didn’t the Creator create us complete and eternal to begin with? If He had done so, we would not have been able to feel the perfection and eternity! Along the way, before we come to free choice between our situation and the spiritual situation, we gradually learn to actually appreciate spirituality and make the choice to bring it into our lives.
At that point, spiritual perfection and eternity become desirable and we really do delight in them.
Q: What is the meaning of agony?
A: In answer to this question, I’d like to quote the words of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag in his “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot .” Here, he explains why he wrote that book.
“Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer just one famous question, I am sure that all the questions and doubts will vanish from sight and you will look unto their place, and they will be gone. It is the indignant question, asked by all the people in the world, which is: “What is the meaning of our lives?” Meaning, this number of years we have been given, which cost us so heavily, meaning the multitude of pain that we suffer for them, in order to complete them, who is it who enjoys it, or better phrased, whom do I delight?
And it is true that researchers have grown weary of delving over it, and all the more so in our generation, when no one wants to even consider it. Yet, the question still remains as valid and as bitter as ever. And there are times it meets us uninvited, and pokes our mind and throws us to the ground, before we find the old subterfuge to be carried senselessly in the currents of life as always.” (Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot, item 2).
After that, the writer explains that only when we learn how to master our own destinies do we receive the answer to that question.