THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT VAYESHEV 5779
BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER
“Nothing happens haphazardly” was the catch-phrase of the late Rabbi Yosef Fogel from Netanya. The entire dramatic history of the Jewish people – up to the present day – has its origins in this week’s gripping Parsha, the story of Yosef Part 1. The very best authors of thriller novels would do well to take a page out of this breath-taking story, the intricate details of which only become clear when we read the final scene. The question is - have we reached that final scene?
HaShem’s master plan was and is beyond doubt. We, the Jewish People, are the Chosen People. Israel is the Chosen Land. The Torah binds us to both. As the Medrash often says “Kudsha Brich Hu, Uraissa VeYisrael Chad Hu”. HaShem, the Torah, and Israel (land and people) are One!
In order for us to receive the Torah and the land of Israel, we needed to become HaShem’s Chosen People. This took place when we were delivered from the long and painful exile in Egypt. Many of our daily, Shabbat and YomTov prayers allude to that monumental episode – the Exodus - “Zecher LeYeziat Mitzraim”.
But first we had to get to Egypt – and stay there. Everything, but everything, that happens in this week’s Parsha paves the way for this in all its dramatic detail. From Yosef’s dreams, to his brothers’ despising him, to his sale to Egypt and on to the story of Yosef Parts 2, 3 and 4 which we will read in the weeks to follow, culminating in Yosef becoming the Viceroy of Egypt and inviting his father Yakov and the entire family to settle in Egypt. What a script!
But there is a PS to this. The present day. “Maasei Avot Siman Labanim”. What our forefathers faced in their lifetime, was partly in order to prepare us for our own personal experiences. Our undoubted ability to endure our current predicament of insecurity and uncertainty, in Israel and in the Galut, stems from the unshakable faith and commitment of the likes of Yakov and Yosef.
We must take courage from the drama of Yosef’s life. Now as we read the Parsha, we can understand most of the details of the unfolding story. We recognise that HaShem had and has a master plan. Nothing – but nothing, happens haphazardly.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah,