When Yaakov was about to encounter Esav, he prepared gifts from his flocks and arranged them in such a way that there would be spaces between them (Bereishis 32:17). The purpose was to make a greater impression on Esav. The Midrash finds something prophetic in these words: Yaakov asked Hashem that if troubles were going to come upon his children, there should be a revach, a space, between the troubles. They shouldn’t come one after the other. There should be periods of tranquility in between. We learn from this that history is not a series of one-time incidents. It’s part of a pattern: We experience periods of tranquility and tribulation. There is a space between tribulations. For instance, Spain was a period of relative tranquility, which was followed by a period of great tribulations. This pattern has been repeated constantly throughout our history. And the pattern holds true for the individual. Everyone must know that he will not always experience tranquility. There will be ups and downs in life. That’s very important to recognize. Nobody should be disappointed. Life is change. Life is a variety of circumstances — and not all of them are welcome. If a person understands that this is the way it’s going to be, it’s easier to cope and to make use of these opportunities — because they are opportunities. It states in Koheles (7:14), “On a day of good, be happy; on a day of misfortune, reflect.” We should expect days of good as well as other kinds of days. Hashem controls everything, and whatever He sends upon a person or upon the nation is for a purpose — and the general purpose is the great purpose of nisayon, a test. Nisayon literally means “to be elevated,” which means to gain by whatever happens in this world. We’re here to gain shleimus, perfection. And we need to have a variety of experiences to produce the shleimus of the individual or of the community. So when things are going well, be happy. Utilize the shleimus that comes from happiness. Utilize every form of simchah, big or small. Express great enthusiasm by praising Hashem constantly. That is the test of a “a good day.” A good day can be as simple as a quiet day without any crises; a day when there were no sirens sounding, no fire trucks or ambulances; a day without excitement or thrills. That day must be utilized; it’s of the utmost importance. We say in Hallel, “The dead will not praise Hashem; nor do those who go down into silence” (Tehillim 115:17). Death is called “silence” because a dead person loses the opportunity to praise and thank Hashem in this life. Nothing is an accident. The world is under His control. When you have no pain in your eyes or in your ears; no headache or stomachache; when your thighs or knees don’t hurt you — it’s an opportunity and a test. Are you going to praise Hashem? The test of a good day requires hallel —praise. That’s the purpose of life. While you’re alive, no matter what kind of life, say Modeh Ani with enthusiasm when you open your eyes in the morning. Think, Oh, I’m awake. I’m alive again! Be enthusiastic about it. “Modeh ani lifanecha …” — I give thanks to You for returning my body to life. When things go well, be happy. Accomplish your purpose of life — sing Hallel. That means not merely mouthing a robotic “Thank You, Hashem,” but saying it with great enthusiasm. And saying it frequently. The more you say it and think about it, the happier you are, and the more grateful you will be. And the more you are fulfilling the purpose of happiness. But there is also “a day of misfortune,” Shlomo Hamelech tells us.
See further in the book———
Astor, Yaakov. Rav Avigdor Miller on Olam Haba (pp. 115-116). The Judaica Press, Inc.. Kindle Edition.