The prophets often compare the hardships we suffer to the refining process of gold and silver.
This is not the only application of refining in Jewish Thought. The Zohar teaches:
The word of God is refined
As silver and gold are refined.
When these letters came forth, they were all refined,
Carved precisely, spakling, flashing.
All of Israel saw the letters
Flying through space in every direction,
Engraving themselves on the tablets of stone
We have survived by continuing to see the refined letters of the Torah engraving themselves on our lives and on history. We watch the process and understand that we must refine ourselves in order to fully appreciate the magnificence of the letters, more precious than gold and silver.
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