In this week’s parsha the Torah tells about a third famine that happened in the time of Yaakov Avinu. The type of famine that occurred was a regional famine that threatened the lives of the patriarchal family. Yaakov was besieged with even further troubles. In addition to Yosef’s disappearance, another one of his sons Shimon was imprisoned in Mitzrayim. In response to the crisis, it says in the Midrash Tanchuma that Yaakov prayed: “May He Who said to the universe at the time of creation, ‘Enough!’ to my troubles. I have had no rest since my youth – troubles with Lavan, troubles with my brother Esav, the troubles of Rochel, Dina, Yosef, Shimon and now Binyamin.”
Yet previously, when Yaakov requested tranquility, Hashem responded to Yaakov’s request according to how Rashi explains, Bereishis 37:2: “Is the reward that the Tzaddikim receive in Gan Eden insufficient that they even ask for reward in this world? Since Yaakov asked for undue measure of tranquility, Hashem brought the troubles of Yosef upon Yaakov.”
If Yaakov’s initial request for a peaceful existence resulted in bitter consequences, why does Yaakov again in this week’s parsha beseech Hashem for serenity? The Patriarchs attained an aspect of Gan Eden even while living in this world. However, they did not experience the higher level of absence of all sorrow and hardship.
Yaakov’s first prayer was striving for an existence that surpassed the conditions of Avraham and Yitzchak. This was denied to him. However, now this time Yaakov was not demanding that type of tranquility. He realized that the kindness of Hashem would ultimately bring him a measure of good fortune that would bring him comfort for the turbulent episodes that happened during his lifetime.
Therefore, Yaakov asked to balance out the tragedies of his life with blessing and goodness. Indeed, this happened during his final years in Mitzrayim which were a time of peace, fulfillment and joy. May we also gain enjoyment in our own lives by considering and applying Yaakov’s profound insight to our prayers and life experience. Although life in this world cannot be totally free of all our troubles, we can daven to request to Hashem to balance out the hard times with good times.
During the time of Chanukah, it is an important time to strive to grow in our Torah as well as Yiras and Ahavas Hashem. It is also an important lesson that we should learn from Yosef in how he survived such an immoral place like Mitzrayim for Yaakov taught Yosef how to survive in Galus. If we want to bring the Ketz (End) to this Galus we must strive to better ourselves and learn from one another. With this it can bring about a higher level of Achdus which in turn could bring about the Final Geulah. In the end, we should all witness the Lighting of the Menorah in the Third Beis HaMikdash in our time.
This Dvar Torah is based on Toras Chaim of the Chasam Sofer.