Recognizing Hashem’s Guidance – Weekly Words of Torah, Vayeshev 5774

Insights into Parshat Vayeshev of Mr. Avi Lerer of Yeshivate Sha’alvim by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.

In this weeks Parsha the Pasuk says “and they sat down to eat bread and they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead and their camels bore spices and balsam and birthwort” (Perek 37 Pasuk 25)

Rashi comments on this pasuk and explains that the Torah is telling us how Tzadikim are rewarded. Arabs usually carry foul smelling odors on their caravans but Hashem caused this caravan to carry nice smelling spices.

Rabbi Mordechai Porgraminsky points out that Yosef was in a state of worry. He was being taken away from his fathers house and his family. Who cares about the smell of the spices? How can they be significant at all much less a reward for a Tzadik?

What is going in here?

He uses a mashal to explain what is going on here. This scenario is comparable to a person undergoing major surgery. After the operation, his family anxiously awaits his return to consciousness. As soon as his eyes open everyone becomes extremely happy. Though there is still a long way to go the first sign of impending recovery fills the family with encouragement.

The same thing applies to Yosef. He was just at the beginning of a long road to Geulah. Yet this small sign that Hashem had not abandoned him was a source of huge comfort which served to boost up his confidence for the eventual Geulah.

The smallest sign can make the biggest difference.

We can learn a very important lesson from this explanation of Rashi. The Chachamin tell us that there is no reward for mitvzot in this world, the true reward is in Olam Haba. The only so-called ‘reward in this world’ is to sense Hashem’s guiding hand at every turn of the way. This closeness that we have with Hashem in this world is like the smell of sweet smelling spices that give us the strength and motivation to persevere in our chosen paths.

May we all merit to be like Yosef HaTzadik, to take in every small sign and recognize them as Hashem’s guiding hand and use it as encouragement to overcome all of the issues we face to fulfill a greater goal.