Tom Wolf via Flickr

Growing from Pain

Pesach as a metaphor for adapting to the times in which we live.

I suspect I am not alone in declaring that my thoughts have had a singular focus these past two weeks. COVID-19, a disease caused by a microscopic virus, has consumed society and now holds us in its firm grip. The virus does not discriminate, and it does not leave communities untouched by its effects. As a senior in high school, I am devastated that my last days of high school have been robbed. However, I have found a silver lining in this crisis: the remarkable unity as students come together and support one another during difficult times. My grade has displayed this unity in simple ways—acts such as hosting Zoom baking lessons or Zoom hair tutorials remind me of how much others care. 

I like to say that my motto is “no pain, no gain.” I think these four words very much apply to our world right now. With Pesach quickly approaching, we are reminded that the Jewish people were only able to achieve spiritual growth after experiencing the hardship of slavery. In fact, Karpas, a green vegetable that is included on the Seder plate, serves the purpose of reminding us that true growth comes from pain. Karpas symbolizes growth, while the salted water in which we dip Karpas represents tears and sweat, demonstrating to us that without pain there cannot be growth. It is what we do with the pain that defines who we are. We all suffer from pain, but we can either grow and adapt from suffering or we can let suffering overtake us. Our decisions during times of crisis display our strength and resilience.

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to me that we have a strong generation of future leaders who experience pain but are able to move on from suffering. During difficult times, we readily find ways to grow and inspire each other. As we celebrate Pesach, perhaps with only our immediate families or perhaps with a larger virtual community, let us embrace the spirit of spring and focus on recreating and reviving the world as we know it. 

Nike

Sonya Kest is senior at YULA Girls High School in Los Angeles. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.

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