24 Dec 2014 Yosef’s Timeless Message
It is the 8th day of Chanukah today, “Zos Chanukah”, and as I pen these words, there is just over one hour left to Chanukah 5775… The latkes and donuts have been eaten, the gelt has been distributed, the candles burned and went out, Hallel and Al Ha’Nissim were sung…
Flickering lights in the winter season of darkness. One flask of oil found amidst utter defilement and impurity. What should’ve burned for one day burned for eight. Hope when all seems futile. Meaning and purpose to the insanity of this world.
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Vayigash, the viceroy of Egypt reveals himself to his eleven stunned brothers and declares that “I am Yosef your brother who you sold to Egypt” (Gen.45:4).
Twenty-two years ago, Yosef was a young lad of 17 years old, sold by his own brothers to a passing caravan of merchants, brought down to Egypt, and sold on the slave block. After years in jail, he finds himself appointed COO (Chief Operating Officer) over Egypt. And this young Hebrew slave rises to the highest echelons of power, first collecting food during the years of plenty and then providing for the entire Middle East during the years of famine.
What seemed to be a terrible event in the history of the sons of Yaakov, in the sale of their younger brother Yosef, now seems to actually be not so bad! Faced with hunger, the house of Yaakov needed food and a place to live; and who better to sustain them in Goshen than their own brother, Yosef?
Apparently, Yosef’s sale was all part of G-d’s plan. And immediately after he reveals himself, Yosef reassures his brothers not to be upset that they sold him, for it was G-d Who sent him down there to be a provider of life! So sure is Yosef that this was all part of Hashem’s plan, that he reiterates this to his brothers an astonishing four times in five verses (Gen.45:5-9).
Yosef’s faith in Hashem is a lesson for us all. Though at times life seems dark, just like the winter months, there is always the element of flickering light. Sometimes we see it, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the light of hope and redemption may even be hidden for twenty-two years! But we must always remember the timeless message of righteous Yosef, spoken from his own personal experience. It is Hashem Who orchestrates our lives and what happens to us.
It was this that sustained Yosef through his years of solitude in Egypt, and as we sojourn through our current galus, we would do well to learn from his timeless message, “Do not be sad and do not be angry, for this was all part of Hashem’s plan.”
May we merit to light Menorah next year in a rebuilt and redeemed Jerusalem, amen v’amen!