Longing For The Redemption – Yaakov Lives

Yaakov has been separated from his son Yosef for twenty two years, after revealing himself to his brothers as the king of Egypt Yaakov descends to Egypt and is reunited with Yosef. Yaakov’s life apart from Yosef was one of pain and sadness, and he knew no rest. The divine presence was not present with him; he did not attain prophesy. In Egypt where Yaakov lives for seventeen years he was full of joy and tranquility; the divine presence was with him, and he was (according to a hidden Zohar text) in a state of the highest levels of prophesy.

Yet, the Midrash Rabah teaches that Yaakov was not able to teach his children of the vision he saw of the end of days, and the life of Yaakov in Egypt represented the beginning of the exile, which truly took more shape when he died. Surrounding Yaakov at this time was not tranquility, but uncertainty. Not brighter days, but dark clouds of forewarning. The Midrash Rabah teaches that Yaakov was in such bliss because the troubles of the world were hidden to him. How are we to understand the Tzaddik Yaakov being in such a removed state from the reality of the world around him? How can Yaakov allow himself to be blind to the pain of the creation? It seems as if Yaakov is only bothered by his pain; when Yosef is lost from him for twenty two years he suffers tremendously, although the world is not in calamity, but when the world is heading for darkness he is tranquil and blissful, because he has Yosef. Is the Tzaddik we want to emulate one who only feels for his personal issues?

Of course we must understand that we cannot judge Yaakov, but rather learn from him. I am reminded of the story of Rabbi Akiva who upon witnessing a fox on the site of the recently destroyed temple in Jerusalem laughs. He laughs because this is the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy and he realizes that just as this prophesy of utter destruction is playing out fully, so too the prophesies of redemption will be in their time. Yaakov reconnecting to Yosef was the guarantee of redemption, and therefore all the pain of the thousands of years of exiles and sufferings were somehow not worth being sad for, or even became sweet. There is a secret that even the most painful, horrible tragedies will all be for the good.

Yaakov wanted to teach his children how it will be good, when will it finally be good. He wanted to write it down so that I could look and say to my children “don’t worry mashiach is coming very soon”, but he was seemingly forbidden to do so. I would also like to tell my clients sometimes the perspective that would open up their stories of suffering to redemptive light, but to do so would be unproductive. We cannot be shown the answer until we are ready, we need to do the work of exile, and development of Tikkun Olam ourselves. We can only imagine God longing and yearning to tell us “it’s OK, I love you, it’s goin to be alright”, but he holds himself back so that we might be adult enough to take responsibility and rectify our world. This is the secret of all the pain of the world.

The sweetness of redemption was never totally hidden, the righteous Tzadikim are here to whisper God’s comforting messages to us. The Torah tells us to wait just a little longer, and even in our Parsha the first words are Vayechi Yaakov Bieretz Mitzrayim – And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt, Yaakov lived! He lived joyfully, he lived in bliss, because he saw the redemption, and it so good.

Dating & Marriage 101
– When an issue comes up during dating or during marriage ask can I accept the other even through this. Is this something we can grow together through working it out. Block out the pain of the moment by recognizing the sweetness that comes from overcoming together.
Once my wife and were in a painful disagreement and called up or Rebbe, he brought salve and salvation with the words: “You are arguing, because you love each other so much”.

Dance, Dummy

There is a story that really hits me; it is one of my favorite stories. This is from Rebbe Nachman who was unique and famous for his original stories.

Once, the king’s son believed he was a turkey. He would act exactly as if he was a turkey, gobbling under the table naked, and eating scraps from the floor. Of course the king was beyond himself, he did not know what to do, and brought in every expert and specialist to help his child, but nothing helped.

One day a wise man came to the capital city and paid a visit to the king. He heard about the Turkey Prince as the king’s son was known. The wise man begged an audience with the king and said “you have nothing to lose, let me try to help your son, but you must not interfere”. The king agreed.

On the first day the man observed the prince naked on the floor, and after some time the wise man removed his own clothes and joined the royal child. The prince was surprised and said “what are you doing here?!” The man answered “I am a turkey.”

The two spent a few days on the floor like this, then one day the wise man sat down on the floor wearing pants. The prince was unsure, but the man assured him that “even turkeys can wear pants.”

After another few days the wise man wore a shirt, assuring the prince “turkeys can wear shirts too if they want.”

This continued until the prince appeared fully cured.

This story says so much.

  • Act on what is right even if you do not fully integrate the belief. The prince believes himself to be a turkey, but even turkeys can go to work. Strive to do what is right and true even if you have not begun to feel that it is good and sweet. A friend of mine in a rebellious teenager phase of life recalled to me how the great rabbi Rav Noah Weinberg asked him why he wasn’t doing what he believed to be right and true, with no answer besides him being a teenager Rav Noah bellowed “So dance dummy!

  • The power of rock bottom. The change came when being a turkey for the rest of the prince’s life was fully accepted by the king, the wise man, and even the prince. Often the fear of the worst case scenario paralyzes, and keeps any real progress far away. As we all know no one changes until they are accepted. Recently while coaching a young man we both burst into laughter after touching with absolute acceptance his worst fears.

There are many more lessons to be gleaned, but it is almost shabbat here in Beit Meir, Israel and my wife Leah could really use my help.

Shabbat Shalom,
May you really find your soulmate those of us married and those not yet married, in this shabbat we read about Yitzchak finding his wife Rivka.
Rabbi Dovid Baars