Tests: Connection Vs. Estrangement

The most common challenge we have with our spouse.

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Comments (17)

(12) Inanna Baskan, August 14, 2012 7:25 AM

Her husband co-signed a loan w/o telling her.

WOW. She passed the test and the test went away. Yasher Koach to her!

shoshana, August 14, 2012 10:38 PM

tests don't always go away

I'm happy this lady's test went away, but many times they not only continue but mulitply.

galabye, August 19, 2012 7:24 AM

We don't know what the text is for unless we have the answer sheet

I hear what you're saying however, in order for us to know for sure we are passing a test - we have to know what the test is. Unfortunately, many times we think that the test is something totally different than what it actually is. For example, if someone does wrong to us, we may believe that the test is not to get upset, but in truth the test may be: not to complain or not to speak ill of this person who did this to us. When I think back, I truly believe the reason I continued to endure suffering was because I continued to speak about the perpetrator who caused me to suffer. When the truth is that perpetrator was only a tool in G-d's hands. But even though I believed this, I felt that I needed to justify myself with the purpose of rebuilding my name that this other person was destroying...

(11) Chana@jewishmom.com, August 8, 2012 7:56 PM

loved this

thanks lori, this was awesome, you're the best!

(10) Anonymous, August 7, 2012 11:14 PM

We Pray for no more tests

I like your articles Lori - but maybe you have forgotten something; in Schacharit the morning prayer liturgy we actually pray for G-d not to test us! We ask not to be tested! Your story only illustrates what a good neshoma Mrs Rigler is! I hold differently: The Jewish People have gone through 'fire and water' too many tests we hope pray and beseech Hashem not to test us more! How many trials and tribulations have we done/sat how many persecutions/pogroms/troubles nebbach have we gone through in our history - Isn't time for the Examiner Hashem to call it quits (give us all an A or at least a pass) and send Moshiach and bring us all home to Eretz Yisroel in a merciful fashion?!? Why the stress on us to go through more tests? Don't you think Hashem can call it off and bring us home already?! ? "Genuk" Enough with more testing how about schlepping naches from all of us if we are Hashem kids treat us mercifully!

YM, August 22, 2012 3:38 AM

to #10

Personal tests are not a bad thing and I think Lori is trying to show why that it. Tests refine us as people, especially when they're hard. As to your point about davening, I think you are making a subtle but profound error. We pray not to be brought into the "hands of the test", meaning failing to pass it successfully. Test itself is a means of bringing us closer to God, and why would we pray to avoid that?

(9) Dr. Stoppe, August 7, 2012 8:35 PM

Coices are rarely limited to two

Beware of the disjunctive fallacy of assuming only 2 alternatives. There is also a difference between a spiritual test and a reaction to a spouse's insanity.

(8) Anonymous, August 7, 2012 8:07 PM

Thank you

Thank. You for always inspiring me and bringing sunshine to my day.

(7) Anonymous, August 7, 2012 8:01 PM

Better communications

That's all sweet but we would have a discussion of why he felt he could choose estrangement vs closeness in keeping a major financial decision a secret? Maybe there are underlying issues that may need further problem solving. Just saying ok dear! Don't do it again. That just seems to perpetuate the lack of communication being shown in the first place. Not to say there aren't times to just accept shortcomings, although I don't think a person has to let themselves be invalidated or ignored. The message being conveyed is invisible is the holier way. Communicating can lead to closeness vs distance. Ignoring a decision that effects both people result in resentments and eventual esteem issues.

(6) PSLB, August 7, 2012 1:31 PM

another test within the test

Yasher Koach, Lori. I always learn from you in an easy and personal way. Thank you. In this test, the bigger story is wonderful and a good lesson in HOW to react and HOW to speak. I see another test, though, and wonder if other see it this way. It's a moral obligation to pay our debts whether the lender asks or not. By waiting to be asked for the money, we have put an unreasonable burden on the lender. We failed that test. Do you agree?

Anonymous, August 9, 2012 10:28 AM

I Agree, but ...

Don't forget that the debt wasn't actually theirs, they were simply guarantors. I think that makes a difference. "Deadbeat cousin" is the one who is putting the burden on the lender.

(5) Anonymous, August 7, 2012 1:16 PM

Am I "getting" this? (A sort of case study)

Dear Rebbetzin Lori: Thank you for this and all your other wonderful work! Would you please clarify something? Are there situations in which the test is about "connection vs. estrangement" and the correct response is to choose estrangement (from that particular individual)? For example, let's say there's a woman who has a history of being too unassertive and having low self-confidence, but in fact she has genuine leadership qualities brewing just under the surface. Let's say she is tested repeatedly over many years with an abusive spouse, a highly judgmental coworker, and a variety of other encounters where she feels just a bit intimidated by people who have strong personalities. (She also has great, supportive friends and coworkers, so it's not an "everyone's-against-me" thing.) Hashem perhaps wants her to learn to put appropriate distance (whether physical or emotional, in the sense of proper "personal boundaries") between herself and people who compromise her safety, mental well-being, dignity, and so on. Perhaps He wants her to acquire proper humility, i.e., the ability to fulfill more of her potential by learning to fill her rightful place without shrinking back (which has been her natural inclination since childhood). Perhaps He wants her to train herself, through these tests, to experience genuine self-esteem that comes from within and is not made or broken by the approval or disapproval of others. So here passing the test seems to require choosing some degree of estrangement if the people involved cannot be otherwise influenced to behave more respectfully toward her, yes? Or no? Please help me understand whether or not I'm on the right track. I am not just being theoretical or hypothetical here, and it would really help me to know if I'm "getting" this framework you're presenting. By the way, I loved your talk "Discovering the Real You." In case it's relevant, I seem to be a Chaim-Tov. (Or maybe you'd already had me pegged?)

(4) Yosef, August 7, 2012 7:19 AM

Go Lori!

Beautiful work.........thank you.....

(3) Anonymous, August 6, 2012 2:40 PM

Yasher Koach to Sara Yocheved Rigler!! She handled a VERY DIFFICULT situation the way I would want to, had I been in her shoes. With that said, I hope she and her husband were able to improve their communication re: financial matters. To commenter #1--I remember when I got a fine for $85 for driving 11 miles over the local speed limit. The only thing I could do was to pay the $85 and resolve to stay within the local speed limit in the future. On the one hand I felt like getting a speeding ticket was failing a test. However, I felt like I passed the test when I paid the money that the state required. In your case I think Hashem decided to cut you some slack and allow you to hold on to your money.

(2) Cathryn, August 6, 2012 3:07 AM


I am learning a lot from this 'test' series! When there have been things recently that I find difficult, I am starting to think, "This is a test", and it is helpful. There were two tests sent to Mrs Rigler! The first was her husband telling her the bad news and how she would immediately react - she could have reacted badly straight away, but she was calm and went away to think things over. A lot of us would have been instantly angry, and shown it, even in a restaurant. So she passed that test - connection. The second, obviously, was deciding how to go forward with it. And we know she chose connection. Strong, wise woman!

Jong, August 6, 2012 11:58 PM


Indeed I was more impressed by her calmness right after her husband's confession. Truly amazing!

(1) Anonymous, August 5, 2012 5:04 PM

true! thanks, Lori!

A short time after I'd read the book "Garden of Emuna" I was "caught" in the train with an "invalid" ticket. Actually I had paid the whole price, but the category of the ticket I chose was not "valid" in this special train that I took, so the guy who checked took my address to send me a fine (which is quite a huge amount). B"H I remembered that this must be a test and there must be a reason why I had to loose this money. So I stayed calm and wondered what could be the reason. - And you know what? Up to this day I have never received an invoice from the railway company to pay that fine! Yes, i think it was just a test from Hashem... :)


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