In this week’s Torah portion begins the sad saga of Yosef being sold into slavery by his brothers. The words of this Parsha begins with “vayayshev Yaakov” which, roughly translated, means And Yaakov Settled. RASHI: Beekaysh Yaakov Lay’shayv b’shalva – Yaakov wanted to settle in tranquility. Yaakov had a turbulent life up until this point in time. He had to run away from home, was abused by Lavan, had to run from there, lost the love of his life in childbirth, had his daughter kidnapped and raped, was almost killed by his brother…now he just wanted to settle down and not have any more tests and ordeals. However, we are taught “adam l’amal ya’gata” -man was put into this world to struggle. No soul comes down into the world for no purpose. Through our struggles we grow. The only time we are going to get rest is when we are finally in the grave. So we have a choice, to choose our battles (struggle to get to a higher level in spirituality) or we can have those same growths happen through the unfortunate things that happen to us.
VERSE 2 – Weird – it seems to say that Yaakov’s son was Yosef – it doesn’t list the other boys here. Why? RASHI: Yosef’s life mirrored his father’s. He actually looked like his father, too. Just like Yaakov was separated by his brother’s hatred from his parents, so, too, will Yosef undergo that. A lot of times we want to shield our kids from having the same problems we had or the same challenges. We don’t decide. Yaakov had his tribulations. Now Yosef, as he matures, will also be tested and challenged.