Probably the most common cause of suffering is sadness. Nothing invokes stern judgments from heaven as one’s complaints and dissatisfaction with one’s lot in life. Sadness is mentioned in the Torah as the root cause of life’s curses. “Because you failed to serve Hashem with happiness and goodness of heart when everything was abundant” (Deuteronomy 28:47).
Sad people protest, “Abundance? Look at all my troubles!” Through this, they disregard the thousands of daily blessings they receive. By taking their blessings for granted and focusing on their problems, they make their lives even more miserable.
We must believe that Hashem treats each of us with compassion and mercy at all times. Sad and dissatisfied people therefore deny that Hashem’s Divine Providence is compassionate and merciful. This denial of Hashem, lack of emuna (faith in Hashem), leads to suffering and failure.
When a person complains against Hashem through sadness and dissatisfaction, the Heavenly Court reviews their claims. In the process, they open the person’s heavenly record of their life to determine if the person deserves their present difficulties and sufferings. The problem here is that inspection of a person’s merits and demerits always reveals the individual actually deserves much greater difficulties and sufferings. Hashem is always “caught” by the Heavenly Court for His excessive compassion and mercy. Not only are the person’s complaints overruled, but now they trigger new demands for severe judgment against the person!
David HaMelech, King David, recognized Hashem’s mercy and compassion in every stage of his life. “Do not enter into strict judgment with Your servant, for no living creature would be vindicated before You,” (T’hillim 143:2).
Suffering should initiate serious soul-searching in each of us, since there is no suffering without transgressions, as we discussed in No Sins, No Pain And Suffering. However, before we get involved in deep soul-searching, we need to first ask if we are truly happy and content with our lot in life.
Based on The Garden of Emuna, by Rabbi Shalom Arush