What kind of suffering is this?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

This evening marks three years since the passing of Chani Weinrott, whose struggle with cancer was an inspiration for many. In this period of the corona, I have been reminded many times of the advice that Chani used to give – on the need to distinguish between necessary and unnecessary suffering.

She explained that her disease, for example, was essential suffering. This was a reality with which she had to cope. But to become depressed, to argue with everyone, to stop fulfilling her dreams – that would have been unnecessary suffering. That kind of suffering was a matter of choice.

Here’s an example from everyday life. Your family gets into the car and it’s clear you will be arriving late to an event – that’s necessary suffering. But to fill up the time riding to the event with arguments and accusations and worry because of being late — that is unnecessary suffering. That’s a personal decision of how to spend the time until you arrive.

It sems to me that Chani would have explained the corona as necessary suffering. To our dismay, the pandemic is a fact. But it is not necessary that we become addicted to screens, to eating junk food, to wasting time, to cutting social ties, to sinking into pessimism. The corona does not exempt us from decisions on how to behave in every area of life.

May we all distinguish between necessary and unnecessary suffering, and experience as little suffering as possible.

In her memory.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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