Academic cybrarian, bibliophile & culturista. Mentor to library school (LIS) students and graduates. Advocate for all libraries and their users. [Fmr. Organizer, NY Librarians Meetup]
In the building of the Tabernacle as described in the the last four Parashahs of Shemos (Exodus) G-d commanded that Shittim (Acacia wood) be used for the Ark, table, carrying poles and support beams. Since the Jews were in the desert where nothing grows, as Rashi points out, the only way they could have had the wood available was if they carried it from Egypt. Thus, Rashi concluded that Jacob brought seedling Acacia trees from Canaan and transplanted them in Goshen in anticipation of the need to fulfill the Mitzvah of building the Tabernacle. So it appears that Shittim wood was part of the plan and when called for, the lumber was prepared and ready. The Acacia tree has a rough exterior with a thick homely bark and long sharp thorns growing out of its branches while sporting lush green leaves and beautiful flowers at certain times of the year. Thus in order to make this tree suitable for such Holy service the rough exterior has to be peeled off and the wood must be smoothed over with an abrasive cloth. This procedure is called refinement and it indeed is a painful process. But, when we apply this principle to ourselves we can see that every hardship we endure individually and as a nation is a gift because with every moment of suffering HaShem brings us closer to the eternal rapture of basking in His G-dly light.