Topic: Well Being | Posted:November 20, 2013
There is a teaching in the portion of Vayeshev about receiving spiritual lessons from those who appear to be below us. It is about really living with the understanding that nothing ever happens to us; even the most terrible thing that somebody else does to us comes directly from the Creator. And the only way we can bring miracles into our lives is when we realize this. To the degree that we blame another person for the things they’ve done to us and do not see it immediately as coming directly from the Light of the Creator, is to the degree that we are closed to miracles.
If you look at this portion, Joseph could have a very long list of people to blame. Start with his brothers - they tried to kill him, they sold him as a slave. Then go on to the wife of Potiphar, who tried to seduce him and when he didn’t succumb to her, accused him of rape and he was thrown into jail. Then when he was in jail, he asked the wine steward for help, and it says that the wine steward forgot about him.
So, how did Joseph become Joseph the Righteous? And why did he have to go through this? Because as long as he could blame others, he couldn’t be Yosef HaTzadik, a channel for great Light and miracles. Therefore, the reason Joseph had to go through this process was to remove any sense of being a victim, of being harmed by others. After being sold by his brothers, after being almost killed by his brothers, after being falsely accused and in jail, he could have blamed anybody else. But Joseph came to the understanding that it’s not the brothers, it’s not the wife of Potiphar, it’s not anybody. It’s directly from the Light of the Creator.
There is an amazing story from King David in the second Book of Samuel, chapter 16, that really clarifies this point.
King David’s son Absalom stood up against him and decided he was going to be king. There was an uprising, and King David was forced to flee with his soldiers. He fled to Bahurim, and when he got there, Shimei ben Gera, a relative of King Saul, came out and started not only cursing King David, but alsothrowing stones at him and all the soldiers who were surrounding him. Then Shimei ben Gera said to King David, “Why is all this happening to you? Why is your son trying to kill you, why do you have to run for your life? Because you forced King Saul out of the kingdom. Therefore you are being punished by God for all the terrible, negative things you’ve done. The Creator is going to give the kingdom to your son Absalom, and the reason this is happening is because you are an evil person, a murderer.”
One of King David’s soldiers, Abishai ben Zeruiah, heard this and asked him, “Why are you allowing the dead dog (referring to Shimei ben Gera) to behave like this, to speak to you like this, to do this to you? Let me go and take his head off.” And here we come to an amazing statement; one which I hope we will all keep in our minds throughout our lives. King David said to Abishai ben Zeruiah, “You completely misunderstand. He is cursing me and doing this to me because - ki Hashem amar lo kalel - the Creator told him to. And so, if the Creator told him to do it, how can we blame him, how can we be angry at him, how can we even want to harm him?”
Of course it wasn’t that Shimei ben Gera had prophecy and the Creator told him to do it. If someone were to ask him why he did it, he’d say, “Because I hate King David and want to hurt him.” But King David understood that everything is from the Light of the Creator, and that the Creator told Shimei ben Gera to curse him.
We know that King David did many great spiritual actions in his life and revealed a tremendous amount of Light. However, it says in the Midrash that it was not until this moment when King David said, “ki Hashem amar lo kalel, the Creator is sending him right now to do this to me,” that he became the great channel for the Light of Malchut in our world, andachieved his purpose in this world.
We learn from this that we cannot achieve the purpose for which we came to this world - no matter how much Light we reveal or great things we do in this world – until we come to this level of ki Hashem amar lo kalel, knowing the Creator is sending this person or situation to us right now, knowing there is nobody else to blame because this is coming to me from the Creator and it’s for my best. That is the point at which we can not only achieve the purpose we came to this world, but also when we open ourselves up to miracles. We cannot be able to truly bring great miracles into our lives or this world as long as we can blame another person for something that happens to us.
Many of us know this concept, but how many of us are truly working towards it? Tomorrow, when somebody says something nasty to us, we can start shutting out any thought of anger towards the person doing it or of being a victim to the harm that person is doing. Remember those words, ki Hashem amar lo kalel, this is coming directly from the Creator. And if we do this consistently, we will we grow to the ultimate level that King David achieved, and more importantly for this time of the year, open ourselves to being able to draw down miracles.