Shimona Tzukernik, noted speaker, educator and The Kabbalah Coach, shared with me words of life wisdom that Rabbi Immanuel Schochet z”l imparted to her.
This is the mashal/analogy and lesson he gave her. (It is either from the Baal Shem Tov or the Maggid of Mezritch.)
A king invited all the members of his kingdom to a great party. Everyone eagerly awaited it months in advance. During that time, the king built a deep moat (a deep, wide ditch surrounding a castle, fort, or town, typically filled with water and intended as a defense against attack) around his palace and planted thorn bushes on the outskirts of the royal city. Closer to the date of the gathering, he had wild animals delivered to the forest that surrounded the palace.
On the day of the party, eager citizens approached the palace only to encounter the deep rows of thorn bushes. Most turned back.
Those who made it past the bushes then found themselves face to face with the wild animals. Terrified, they too turned back.
Only a few individuals made it through the forest. But when they saw the moat, they also left.
Only one citizen dared diving into the water, swimming across and finding his way up the other side. It was the king’s son.
When he arrived at the palace, the king and prince embraced. Then, the king gently moved his child to face where he had come from…There was no moat; no forest with wild animals and no thorn bushes. Only verdant fields lay before them.
Shimona had just lost her then fiance and Rabbi Schochet was talking to her under the shade of a tree on a scorching summer day. He turned to her and said, “Shimona, you will face many obstacles in your life. They APPEAR to be real. But they are tests customized for your growth and benefit. Once you pass the test, there is no longer a need for it. G-d removes the thorns and you are left with verdant fields.”
Shidduchim can be a frustrating and challenging process for all involved. In fact, every facet of life could be arduous and testing. The key is to remain focused and know we can only gain from the experience.