Yes You Can

Friday, 10 January, 2020 - 6:30 am

The Creator of the World arranged things so that every week I spend quite a few hours on the phone with people who are at a crossroads in their lives, or are undergoing some crisis or other. Some of them are rabbis or shluchim who are encountering a challenge in their public lives and some are just ordinary people trying to cope with the challenges of life, like all of us.

It doesn’t matter if the challenge relates to the public, or to a single person, parenthood, marital life or coping with a disease; the most significant move on my part is to bring the person to the recognition that there is a way out from the situation he is in, and that the key to that is in his own pocket. It is not easy, and it has to be based on the firm faith in Divine Providence that leads a person on a path that is uniquely his. But one thing I know for sure: From the moment a person reaches the conclusion that there is some way out and that he is capable of changing his fate, both his present and his future, then the door has begun to open and one can begin to walk on, usually very slowly. Sometimes these are almost invisible steps, but they are steps indeed.

The sons of Yaakov in general and Yosef in particular are the poster boys and the model for anyone who is facing challenges and crises, ups and downs. Almost everyone coping with something (and who isn’t?) can find a meeting point between Yosef’s story and his own life and identify with him.

There is much to learn from Yosef’s life, from the moment he lost his mother and on to his relationship with his brothers, his being taken to Egypt under painful circumstances, his rising to a position of royalty and his facing his brothers again. The firm belief that “It is not you who have sent me here but, rather, G-d” seems to have been the central theme of his life.

But there is something more: Before his death, Yosef used the phrase “pakod yifkod” (Hashem will indeed remember you); it was actually a code that he was giving them, a code that would one day be used by the person who will redeem them. ”I am about to die, but G-d will surely remember you and bring you up out of this land to the land that He swore to Avraham to Yitzchak and to Yaakov.” And, indeed, when Moshe came to redeem them he spoke that phrase – pakod yifkod, and when he came to take Yosef’s coffin out of Egypt, he said once again, “for he (Yosef) had firmly adjured Bnei Yisrael, saying, G-d will pakod yifkod – surely remember you.”

I hear in this code a message that Yosef was giving, saying, there is a clear goal in your coming down to Egypt, and I am handing you the code of redemption. Why was it important to him that they know there is such a code? Because the very fact of knowing that we have a way out is so powerful, that it has the strength to make us proceed with our heads held high even in the moments of difficulty, and in that way we can change our situation in the present as well.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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