This week we read Parshas Tesaveh. The Parsha begins with the instruction of the pure olive oil that was to be used in the Tabernacle. The Medrash tells us that the Jewish people are compared to the olive. Just like the olive tree produces fruit, but in order to get its oil, one must hit it. The more it is pressed, the more taste and oil comes out of it. The actual process of pressing it can involve many different stages, and many different types of machines to get out all the oil. The more it is pressed, the more oil it produces. So too, the troubles that we as the Jewish nation have had to endure, are meant to bring out the best of us Ė to allow the full potential that exists within us to be brought out.
While we donít look for challenges or hard situations, we must realize that in the end the point of each challenge is to bring out the best within us, and to allow ourselves to reach our potential. The knowledge of this hopefully can allow us to look at our challenges in a more healthy and productive way.
There is an additional idea in our comparison to olive oil. Olive oil doesnít mix with other liquids Ė it rises to the top. So too, the Jews donít mix with the outside world. We may have to interact in business, or in social settings, but we are a separate people, with a separate way of life, and separate goals in life.