Sometimes we feel like the challenges of life are insurmountable. When the going gets tough, even the tough want to give up.
The Torah portion this week opens with a surprising dispensation for the soldier in the midst of war. “…you see among the prisoners a beautiful woman; if you desire her, you may take her as your wife” (Deut 21:11). Rashi, in his classic Torah commentary, writes that the Torah is addressing our base nature (Yetzer Hara). If G-d would not permit this relationship, the soldier would succumb to the challenge and transgress by having it anyways.
Rabbi Yechezkal Abramsky zt”l derives an encouraging insight from this unique Mitzvah (Commandment). He points out that this is the only Mitzvah where G-d does not expect a person to overcome the challenge. What about the other challenges to G-d’s standards of morality and fortitude, which we face all the time? In those cases, it must be that we have been given the ability to emerge victorious. If it were too much for us, then like that soldier, G-d wouldn’t expect us to overcome.
Admittedly, we don’t always emerge victorious and it’s only human to make mistakes from time to time, but it’s G-d’s promise that we have everything we need to be successful. Those challenges are always within our reach!
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Gensis – Torah.org