Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our Suffering Has Meaning

In this week's Parsha, Vayeitzei, we read about Yaakov's life in Charan. Fraught with difficulty, living in Lavan's environment. Lavan, a corrupt, lying, cheating fiend, tried to swindle Yaakov in every which way. Yet through it all, Yaakov succeeds in building a beautiful family, and amassing great wealth. 

This seems to be the theme of the parsha. 

Why is it important to tell us all these details, a whole parsha of Yaakov's difficulties, and victories? 

The parsha starts with Yaakov's dream, where he saw a ladder whose base was on earth and its top was in heaven. How does this dream connect with the rest of the parsha? 

What are we meant to take from this parsha for our personal lives and as a people? 

We are Yaakov, Yaakov's leaving to Charan is us going into exile. Many lessons are to be taken to deal with our nations struggles, and our personal suffering. 

To accomplish great things is fraught with difficulties. Yaakov starting the Jewish nation is challenged with suffering, but he knows that these difficulties are the motions necessary to accomplish the purpose at hand. Ultimately he succeeds and returns to the land of Israel with a beautiful family and great wealth. His suffering is not for naught, rather it is the foundation of his greatest accomplishments. 

All this is symbolized in Yaakov's dream. The ladder is standing on the ground, symbolizing the physical world with all the difficulties and suffering. Its top reaches heaven, symbolizing that our interaction with the physical world can be holy and reach the heaven. The suffering and difficulties we endure are accomplishing amazing things, and in the end, when Moshiach comes we see the fruits of our labor. Even more, we create the ladder that connects heaven and earth, fusing the two. This fusion is the essential purpose of creation, it is the Jewish mission, making this world a dwelling for Hashem. 

I'm not sure why, but this fusion is accomplished through our suffering. I think we have suffered enough. Let Moshiach come. 

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