Vayigash: How To Reframe Your Narrative
Do you currently find yourself in a good place? Do you want to be where you are or have circumstances led you there? Do you blame anyone for having undermined your ability to achieve your true potential? One of the great handicaps of living our lives to the fullest is the question, “what if”? This is especially true when we are forced into a challenging situation due to negative forces beyond our control. This becomes even worse when this is perpetrated by people we know. Under these circumstances it becomes ever enticing to blame others. In effect we begin to cede control of our lives and we no longer attempt to be masters of our own destiny. There is however a remarkable antidote to this approach. It is played out in a most dramatic scene in one of the greatest stories ever told. Joseph has just revealed his true identity to his brothers who had sold him into slavery twenty two years earlier. Due to sibling rivalry caused by jealousy, they had wanted to eliminate him. Yet now they were staring at their brother, viceroy of Egypt, on whose benevolence they and and their family were totally dependent. How does Joseph feel at this moment? Surely one has every justification to harbour hatred in their heart for being so utterly betrayed by their brothers. But not Joseph. He frames the story in a completely different light. He says to his brothers “ It was not you who sent me here, but G-d” (Genesis 45:8). In other words, he is saying to them, two things: 1) You had absolutely no control over my destiny. 2) It is G-d who has placed me here as his emissary. Joseph teaches us one of the most important lessons in overcoming adversary. We must always remember that no one has any control over us. No human being can cause us any harm without the will of G-d. It is He who divinely engineers the footsteps of man in order to enter a “situation” where one is empowered to serve as G-ds personal emissary. It is our choice to seize that opportunity.