Suffering as Atonement

I have heard it said that the hurt we suffer is an atonement for our mistakes. But if someone hurt me, how can it be atonement for my mistakes? Not that I never make mistakes, but they are often totally unrelated to the person who hurt me. I don't see the connection. Could you explain?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

What happens when a person makes a mistake and chooses to indulge in materialist desires for their own sake, rather that acting in accordance with the will of God? The person moves away from God and becomes attached to the materialism instead.

Suffering has a counter-affect. It gets the person to detach himself somewhat from the physical word -- and focus on meaning, God and spirituality.

Therefore, since the suffering helps the person focus on God, it does not matter who causes the suffering, whether the person is connected to the mistake or not. (Anyway, it is God arranging for the suffering, as a method of realigning your spiritual sensibilities.)

Of course, there are many complexities to this equation, but this is one aspect of how things operate.

More Questions


Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

See More

Receive the Aish.com Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy