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Frustration and Meaning – Parshat Bechukotai

Frustration and Meaning – Parshat Bechukotai

How frustrating it must be for a farmer who has worked the entire season to see his crops totally destroyed due to an infestation, drought, tornado or flood. This crop meant that he would have had enough to eat, to feed his family and been able to ensure enough money to prepare next year’s crop and parnassa(income).  This crop meant an awful lot to him. And now it is gone.

This is the exact situation that the Torah describes in this week’s parsha, Parshat Bechukotai.1 Rashi even goes into further detail describing the emotional state of this farmer. He compares the farner who hasn’t toiled to the one who has. The one who hasn’t toiled much and is met with drought isn’t so moved – after all, he didn’t really invest in this much. But the one whose entire time was spent trying to ensure that this crop would succeed and is met with a natural disaster is a broken man – frustrated, weak and despondent.

What does the farmer take away from this disaster? What is the meaning for him? Does he give up? My guess is ‘not’. His meaning is still clear to him. In fact, he probably will redouble his efforts to ind a way to salvage what he can and prepare for an especially productive crop next year.

What do we take away from OUR frustrations? What is the meaning for us? Do we give up or do we find the strength to continue? We might feel like giving up. But if we give up, then where does that leave us? Is that a place we wish to be in? Probably not.  But what are our options? Are there any options? We may feel as if there are none. But if we sit long enough we will realize that there are always options – some better, some worse. But they are always there.

Frustration will always lead to a path towards meaning and success. There is always one right answer and others which may be close. One will propel us forward and others which may take us on a side path.  It may not be easy to find that path, but when you do – boy, is it worth it.

It is our choice.

Click here to read another logoParsha article on Bechukotai


  1. Vayikra 26:20
  2. Viktor Frankl in his writings on logotherapy often discusses the concept of there always being one right choice to be made. Other choices may also be good but they are not the best. We do our best to make the right choice. Then we continue with the choices we have made and continue on our path towards a life of meaning.