Mikeitz: Help's on the Way
Hashem helps us find our mission on earth when we're straying along the wrong path. This often entails painful tribulations and tests of faith...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
Nobody said that life in this world is fun and games. We came down here to do a task, and a difficult one at that. Each one of us has a soul correction to perform, which is much more intricate than open-heart surgery and oftentimes more perilous. What's more, our sages said that it's much easier to learn the entire Gemara than it is to rectify one negative character trait. As such, when we can't do the job alone, Hashem intervenes and facilitates our task. He also helps us find our mission on earth when we're straying along the wrong path. This often entails painful tribulations and tests of faith.
Rebbe Nachman teaches that the true difficulty of the tribulation is not the tribulation itself, but our spiritual awareness that leaves us during times of tribulation, when fear, worry and anxiety overcome our emuna. The solution therefore is to rekindle our spiritual awareness and strengthen our emuna. Easier said than done? Not really. Here are a few unequivocal truths that every one of us must remember during difficult times of challenge:
1. Hashem is a loving Father in Heaven; He loves me much more than I love the dearest person in my life. This tribulation comes from Him alone.
2. Since my tribulation comes from Hashem alone, and He is my loving Father in Heaven, it is definitely for my ultimate good, whether or not I understand how or why.
3. Since whatever Hashem is doing is for my ultimate good, I should not only accept His will and judgment, but sincerely thank Him for this tribulation as well.
Once a person reaches the level where he can sincerely thank Hashem for his tribulation, he attains a measure of proximity to Hashem that he didn't previously possess. As our ultimate mission in life is to get close to Hashem, and our tribulations – when dealt with properly – bring us closer to Hashem, they are intrinsically good! What's more, as soon as a person truly and sincerely gets close to Hashem with songs and expressions of gratitude, Hashem no longer needs the tribulation catalyst. Help's on the way! A person sees salvation suddenly when he or she never expected it.
Where do we learn all of the above principle from?
The Midrash tells us that Joseph sang and dance when incarcerated in the dark dungeon of prison in Egypt. Joseph knew that everything was from Hashem and certainly for his best. Since he was always happy, everyone loved him and he attained a position of responsibility behind bars with much better conditions that the average prisoner had. Joseph spent his time singing songs of gratitude to Hashem. Logically, he couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. For all he knew, he'd never get married or have a family. But one day, all of a sudden:
"And they rushed him out from the dungeon..."
Not only was Joseph released from prison, but he became the viceroy of the then-civilized world's most powerful nation.
The Torah is a template for all generations. Joseph's story is not just a bedside tale – it's a command for each of us to mobilize, to cast off despair and to get moving! Apply the above-cited three points to your own circumstance, and see how fast help will be coming your way – it works!
Our sages say that Hashem's salvation arrives at the blink of an eye. When a person clings to emuna and gratitude, he or she can rest assured that help is fast on the way. Just remember what Rebbe Nachman always used to say: there is no despair in the world at all.
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.