Vayeishev: Do You Feel Alone In The World?
How often do you feel completely alone in the world? Are there moments in your life when you believe that no one truly understands your predicament? Are there times when you are not entirely sure if anyone genuinely cares about you? No doubt that, in a world filled with a wide range of life’s constant pressures, both socially and professionally, our relationships with others are tried and tested. Our friendships and loyalties to others are not in a static mode. It is not surprising therefore, that there are going to be times when we are let down by those we felt closest to. There is such a moment which is most powerfully depicted in this week’s Torah portion. It is the story of Joseph soon after he was sold as a slave by his brothers. Despite his young age, he very quickly proves himself as the trusted supervisor for all personnel affairs of an Egyptian aristocrat. Against this backdrop of quick success soon after being totally betrayed by his brothers, he is tested in a way that would reveal his core being. The verse describes how the wife of his master Potifar attempts to seduce Joseph on many occasions. Each time however, he resists her approach. Then one day with Joseph alone in the house, “She grabbed him by his clothes, saying, “Sleep with me!” What was going on in Joseph’s heart of hearts? What was his instinctive response? The Talmud explains that Joseph in fact was at a crossroads. He was hesitant and unsure. He wavered. He was torn. Yes he came from one world. Yet he was now heading in a different direction. What a dilemma! The world from where he came had rejected him. The values and morals which they preached were fundamentally compromised as he was thrown into the pit. Joseph was asking himself: To which world do I belong? Do my family care about me? Who are my true friends? Suddenly “an image of his father’s visage appeared to him,” at which point everything fell into place. It all became clear. There were no more doubts. He resisted the temptation. And the rest is history. The lesson for all of us is most powerful as it is relevant. We all have our moments when we feel dejected because we have been rejected. Sometimes by those whom we thought were our closest friends, which make things especially difficult. We feel alone in the world with no one whom we can trust. In times like these we must visualize the image of our “father” or “grandfather”. We must remember that our ancestors gave “blood, tears, toil and sweat” so that we can continue the legacy which was passed on to them. We must never forget that they sacrificed their lives, figuratively and literally, because they cared and loved us more then anything else in the world. We owe it to those who came before us. We owe it to those who will come after us. We owe it also to ourselves. And only once we have reconnected to our past, can we be guaranteed a secured future. No need to take alternate routes.