FMT – SHABBAT VAYESHEV – Manipulation! By Rabbi Jonathan Horowitz

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
And these are the annals of Jacob: Joseph at the age of seventeen years, used to shepherd the sheep together with his brothers. (37:2) The Chafetz Chaim remarks on the extraordinary development of events surrounding the selling of Joseph. Joseph, favorite son of his father Jacob, was snatched away from his father’s house and his land of birth. The best years of his life were spent in a distant land, in the hands of vulgar people who shied away from nothing in their efforts to destroy him. Yet what was the end result of all his pain and suffering? Divine providence manipulated these very events in such a manner as to transform them into the instruments of his meteoric rise to power. Being sold as a slave to one of Pharaoh’s ministers led directly to his rise to power as ruler of Egypt and provider of sustenance to all the surrounding lands. This in turn precipitated the ultimate reversal, wherein his brothers, who had sought to harm him, bowed down to him in abject submission. How wondrous and mysterious are the ways of Divine providence! A person can be trapped in the most distressing situation, never realizing that this very situation will ultimately bring him great benefit and joy. This parashah also gives us insight into the future of the Jewish people. When the kingship of the Holy One, Blessed Is He, will be revealed in this world, we shall see with perfect clarity how all our trials and tribulations were necessary steps in our rise to greatness. Thus, the prophet Isaiah says (12:1), “And you will say on that day, ‘I thank you, O G-d, for You were wrathful with me.’” There will come a time when we shall sing G-d’s praise for all our suffering at His hands, because on that day we will come to appreciate that it was the path to our salvation and success.
Shabbat Shalom ! Rabbi Jonathan Horowitz