“There are no tribulations without transgression” (Shabbat 55a)
This is the central principle of emuna, of Judaism, and of the entire world. Nachmanides writes in his commentary to the Torah, Parshat Bo:
A person does not earn a share in the Torah until he believes that every thing or event in life is a miracle! Nothing is the product of nature or natural course, whether on an individual or collective scale. The reward of one who fulfills the mitzvot is ultimate success, while the punishment of a transgressor is eventual doom, all by Divine edict.”
We must first believe that everything in life is the product of the Creator’s specifically made decree for each of us in order to, then, believe that there are no tribulations without transgressions. Without such emuna, we lack a genuine connection to Hashem, G-d forbid.
David HaMelech states, “Hashem is righteous is all His ways and magnanimous in all His deeds” (T’hillim 145:17). He also says, “Hashem is just; my Rock in Whom there is no injustice” (ibid, 92:16). Whoever thinks Hashem torments His creations for no reason has a tremendously flawed sense of emuna.
Knowing that Hashem does everything for a specific purpose — that Hashem is loving, just, and compassionate — leads us to the proper conclusion that our own transgressions are the cause for our suffering! Hashem knows how terribly our transgressions blemish our souls; therefore, He sends us tribulations in order to cleanse our souls.
We must believe that our hardships and difficulties in life are not punishments, but soul corrections, sent from our loving Father in heaven. These soul corrections are for our ultimate good and stimulate spiritual growth! With this proper emuna, when we are faced with life’s challenges and sufferings, we can do some real soul-searching, which leads to t’shuva, repentance, which allows Hashem to no longer need to “correct” us.
Based on The Garden of Emuna, by Rabbi Shalom Arush, The Levels of Emuna