Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayeishev

Facing the Challenge

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

“Yaakov (Jacob) settled in the land of his father’s sojourns, in the land of Canaan.” (Beraishis/ Genesis 37:1) As the term “settled” is inconsistent with the Torah’s usual verbiage, Rashi notes, “Yaakov sought to dwell in tranquility, but then the ordeal of Yosef (Joseph) was thrust upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility: the Holy One Blessed is He said, ‘Do the righteous not consider that which is prepared for them in the World to Come to be enough for them that they seek to dwell in tranquility in this world as well?’” G-d decided that despite Yaakov’s righteousness he should suffer the twenty-two year ordeal of believing Yosef was dead. This suffering was not a punishment for misdeeds; why did G-d want to afflict Yaakov in such a way?

The Talmud (Brachos 5a) teaches: If a person suffers, he should check his deeds to find what he may be doing wrong. If he finds nothing wrong he should assume he wasted Torah study time (i.e. perhaps he is not proactively doing the right things he should). If he finds that he is wasting no such time then his afflictions are afflictions of Divine love. In what way is causing people to suffer an expression of G-d’s love?

Malbim (1) explains that through one’s trials he becomes an improved person. It is only by facing life’s challenges that he can actualize his potential. Furthermore, by overcoming this test he can serve as a role model and is in a better position to help and guide others in their time of need. While we can never completely understand why G-d runs the world the way He does, we can gain some invaluable insights. Our Sages teach us that this world is comparable to a corridor leading to the next world (Avos 4:21). Our life’s objective is to realize our potential in this world to achieve the true spiritual rewards for our good deeds in the world to come. We think we would love to be able to do so without suffering, but in truth, we understand that an extra push is often needed to encourage our growth and to help others do the same.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) acronym for (Rabbi) Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel; 1809-1879; Rabbi in Germany, Romania and Russia, he was one of the preeminent modern Bible commentators, often demonstrating how the Oral Tradition is implicit in the Torah’s text.


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Clear Intructions
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Appreciation in Times of Pain
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

The Splitting Of The Sea and the Concept of Hidur Mitzvah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> Nothing's More Natural Than Nature
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

The Great Mirror in the Sky
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Don't Squander It
Rav Frand - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Bitachon in Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Leap of Faith
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

The Test
Shlomo Katz - 5772

ArtScroll

A Seamless Integration On A Higher Plane
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

A Matter of Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

What is Tu B'Shvat?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Like a GPS
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Reaching Out
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Nature is Miraculous
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Empathy for Others -- A Great Quality in Both the Wicked and the Righteous
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information