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The Solution Is In Front Of Your Eyes

01/06/2017 12:15:46 PM


When things are going wrong in our lives, and when we feel like we are sinking further into the abyss each passing day, we are inclined to pray for a miracle, to ask from G-d that He completely change everything in order to produce more fortunate results.

But perhaps this approach is mistaken. G-d doesn’t need to completely change everything, because the answer to your calling already exists.

Let’s analyze the story of Joseph and his brother’s, recounted in this week’s Torah portion Vayigash. A full review of the story shows just how dire their plight seemed.

1. Joseph’s brothers callously sold him into slavery in order to dispose of him from their lives. But after they came to their senses, and after they saw their father’s inconsolable reaction, they carried a lot of guilt on their shoulders. Fearing that Joseph was dead, they assumed that they would never be able to repent for this.

2. When famine hit the land, and the brothers were forced to travel to Egypt to buy food, they and their father had a premonition that perhaps Joseph can be found there. They therefore entered the land through ten different gates in order to best scout the land to find Joseph. But when they stood before Egypt’s viceroy to purchase food (who unbeknownst to them was Joseph), he accused them of being spies on account of entering the country through different border points.

3. Due to being convicted as spies, Joseph locked them up in prison for three days.

4. Following that, he tells them that they can prove their innocence and trustworthiness if they go home and bring back to Egypt their baby bother Benjamin. In the meantime, Shimon will remain as a prisoner. So now they have one brother in prison, and the painful task of bringing Benjamin back with them.

5. On their way home, they discover that in each of their sacks was the money that they used to pay for their food, which had the appearance of theft.

6. Eventually, and due to the hunger, they convince Jacob that they must return to Egypt with Benjamin. To secure Jacob’s trust, Reuben offered the lives of his two sons, and Judah offered his own life as a guarantee.

7. Joseph accepted them graciously, sold them more food, and sent them off back home. On the way, Joseph’s messenger catches up with them and accuses them of stealing Joseph’s special goblet. The brothers swear that no one took it, and that if it is indeed found in one of their sacks, that one will become a slave to Joseph. Lo and behold, the goblet was found in Benjamin’s sack.

8. Judah angrily confronts Joseph, and tells him that if he keeps Benjamin as a slave, their father Jacob will die. Judah pleads that Joseph should instead keep Judah as a slave in his place.

This string of tragic events was certainly enough to make the brothers completely despondent. Beginning from their fateful mistake, everything continued to spiral out of control, turning their lives into complete misery and hopelessness.

So how did it all change? What miraculous event did G-d perform? Nothing changed at all. The seas didn’t split, nor did the walls of Egypt crumble. It all changed with one episode, when Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers. “I am Joseph.” This one scene shed a different light over all the previous events. Now it was clear that their lives, or the lives of Shimon, Benjamin and Jacob, were never in danger. Now it was clear that Joseph was alive, and that they would be able to repent for their wrongdoing to him. Now it was clear, that in truth they never had anything to worry about.

They didn’t know about it then, but they did now. Joseph was always Joseph – they just didn’t know. All their fears was founded upon mistruths, not knowing the facts of the matter. Just one change of knowledge transformed all their misery into relief and joy.

And so it is in our lives. Very often, all our fears are caused by imaginary circumstances which we have decided to be true. We become convinced about a reality which may be completely incorrect, and it causes us to feel hopeless, depressed, angry and miserable.

We learn from this week’s parshah to be mindful that the solution to our problems is already there, in front of our eyes. We just need to know how to see it. If we’re open to a change of perception, and we don’t allow ourselves to become stuck in our perceived understanding of reality, we will find the salvation we need!

Thu, August 6 2020 16 Av 5780