The process of refining a precious metal is a poignant analogy for how the L-RD refines those He loves. I came across an inspirational piece that I’ll share with you here:
A woman was studying the book of Malachi when she came across chapter three, verse three, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver…”
That week this woman called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot -then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.
She asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–when I see my image in it.”
We can draw a parallel between the piece of silver and ourselves. At times, the fire of affliction can seem so overwhelmingly hot that we would rather perish than endure it. Yet, we know that our G-d is so completely faithful to hold us in the fiery trial for just the amount of time necessary to purify us so that we reflect His image. Refining is therefore a process of love, not of punishment.
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