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Work to Do

By: Rav Tuvia Cannon

In our Parasha Yaakov and his family finally are home. After all Yaakov has gone through in the thirty four years since he left his parents' home, he finally has an opportunity to calm down a bit and focus more on his own family.

Yet Rashi, based on the Midrash in Bereishit Raba tells us, Hashem had other plans:

"וישב:  ביקש יעקב לישב בשלוה, קפץ עליו רוגזו של יוסף."

"When Yaakov sought to dwell in tranquility, the troubles of Yosef sprang upon him."

The obvious question is WHY??? Did Yaakov not have a complicated enough life as it is?! Indeed we understand that the true place to rest or dwell in tranquility is Olam Haba, but did Hashem really need to turn things about for Yaakov and give him so many more years of anguish???

But then maybe there's a different way to read this Rashi.

Yaakov indeed wanted to dwell in tranquility. Where? Where it really counts, in Olam Haba. Therefore, Hashem brought about the story of Joseph. Now that Yaakov is back home he's no longer compared to Lavan, rather to Yitzchak and Avraham. When Yaakov looks now in perspective and compares his story to his own father's nissayon in the Akeida, and the ten tests Hashem placed Avraham through, he wonders what merits he has to reach his portion of Olam Haba. And indeed Hashem turns around and responds: You'd like to dwell in tranquility in Olam Haba – here's your challenge!

Or in the words of the Ramchal in Messilat Yesharim:

"Therefore, man was placed in this world first - so that by these means, which were provided for him here, he would be able to reach the place which had been prepared for him, the ‘World to Come’, there to be sated with the goodness which he acquired through them. As our Sages of blessed memory have said (Eruvin 22a):  "Today for their [the mitzvoth's] performance and tomorrow for receiving their reward." (Perek Aleph)

It's only appropriate that Yaakov who was zoche to have twelve sons, who built the future of Am Yisrael, would be indeed challenged in this area.

This idea can put in to perspective many small issues that we go through in our lives. We must always remember that if we really want to rest in Olam Haba – we have some work ahead of us in this world.

May we stand up to the challenges that Hashem faces to us and grow even more with every one of them.

Shabbat Shalom.




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