what's your story?

Friday, 22 December, 2023 - 5:03 am

This week we read in the Torah parsha of Vayigash regarding the dramatic revelation of Yosef to his brothers.

They had reached the end of their tether with the peculiar and "spooky" behavior of Yosef towards them. Yosef had the advantage of recognizing them without them recognizing him. He was able to tell them things about themselves that a stranger would have no chance of knowing. The frustrations and uneasiness with the intimate information that this "stranger" seemed to possess regarding their family melted like magic once Yosef said "I am Yosef". It was as if a huge halogen light had been turned on in the midst of a dark prairie far from the lights of civilization. The brothers went instantly from total disorientation to perfect clarity as to why Yosef had been so knowledgeable regarding their personal family.

Yosef was their brother.

Now however, they had to deal with the immense shame of standing in front of the brother they had long thought would be out of their sights forever. This was the person whom they had wronged in life and now he stood towering over them as the viceroy of the superpower of their time. Not a very pleasant situation.

Yosef nobly responded "do not get agitated or upset, it is not you who has brought me here, rather G-d has orchestrated this.

You may have had negative intentions, but G-d had planned it all along, so that I would be catapulted to power in Egypt and have the ability to sustain our family during these days of famine.

Yosef espoused the classic Jewish belief of "Divine Providence".

In the saga of the sale of Yosef Hashem allowed us to see how what had seemed bad, was actually good.

When Mashiach comes, we will see how everything Hashem did throughout history was somehow for the good. That will require a Divine revelation of otherworldly magnitude.

From the context of that messianic-era light, all the misfortunes, trial and suffering of the long Jewish exile, will be understood.

For now, before that ‘projector’ is turned on, we have many questions that remain unanswered.

Yet, even now, we are sometimes given opportunities to see G-d’s Hand in things that transpire. And sometimes even when initially it seemed bad, it turns out to be for the good.

There are many stories that illustrate this. I would tell you some things that have happened to me that illustrate this, but I prefer to invite you to be the story teller and 'own' the story.

May I suggest that you take a few minutes to try and remember if something like that ever happened to you? Something that seemed mistaken, wrong, bad or painful but turned out to be an opportunity and of benefit.

Share the blessings of the story with your loved ones and then they too may very well recall stories of hope and inspiration where G-d allowed His benevolence to be shown openly.

Today is the fast day of the Tenth of Tevet.

When Mashiach comes, fasts will be transformed to festivals. We await that utopian, blissfully peaceful era with great anticipation and impatience.

May it come NOW.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor


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