Shalom, welcome back. This week we see the greatness of Yosaif (Joseph). The secret of his greatness is that through all his yisurim (suffering, trials), Yosaif remains connected to Hashem. He doesn’t fall into self pity or depression, and this allows him to be a tzadik (righteous) in all his tests. Not only does he remain righteous, but as a result is blessed with success and greatness in each and every trial.
First Yosaif is almost killed by his brothers, and then sold by them into slavery. He becomes a slave in the home of an Egyptian named Potiphar, a minister to the King. The Torah tells us, “His master saw that Hashem is with him, and all that he would do Hashem would make successful in his hand. Yosaif found favor in his eyes, and he attended him; he appointed him over his household, and all he had, he placed in his custody.” (Bereishis/Genesis 39:3-4). Rashi explains that “Hashem is with him”, means the Name of Heaven was fluent in his mouth.
The next trial is when the wife of Potiphar tries to seduce him, he resists the temptation every day. Until one day she grabs his garment, and he decides to escape; leaving his clothes in her hands. Instead of being rewarded for resisting temptation; Yosaif is falsely accused of having illicit relations with Potiphar’s wife, and is thrown into prison.
Here was a another opportunity for Yosaif to say that he tried to keep the Torah, but it lead him to disaster. Yosaif remains loyal to Hashem and the Torah, and is even elevated while in prison. The Torah tells us that, “The prison warden placed all inmates that were in the prison in Yosaif’s custody, and everything that was done there, he would do. The prison warden did not scrutinize anything that was in his custody, because Hashem was with him; and whatever he would do Hashem would make successful.” (Bereishis/Genesis 39:22-23)
We learn an beautiful and precious lesson from Yosaif. In life we must sometimes undergo suffering in the form of sickness, monetary loss, anxiety, loss of loved ones, etc. But we must always remember that it all comes from Hashem and it is always for the good, even if it is not apparent to us at the time. It is possible to see suffering as an opportunity for spiritual growth, refining of our middos (character traits), change of perspective, appreciation of our other blessings. We can change our focus to see suffering as a blessing and not a curse, and can work on the greatness that resides in each of us.
Have a great week.
21st Kislev, 5771