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Parashat Vayigash – Make Adjustments Not Excuses


Joseph’s life and attitude was very unique in that we find that in every situation he found himself, he achieved excellence. Whether as a son, servant, prisoner, viceroy, provider or father, he achieved excellence. He was led by the belief in his own abilities and destiny. Still, he paid a steep price for that greatness, suffering years of enslavement and imprisonment.

Some people are satisfied with their status quo and choose not to rock the boat. Many give up hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable hardships and fantasize of a better life. Others are dreamers, people of great ambition and aspirations who never give up or lose sight of their dreams. What is the difference between dreams and fantasy? Fantasy is merely wishful thinking, something we know is beyond our reach, but dreams are something that may be in the remote future yet are conceivably achievable. Joseph understood his dreams as a revelation of the Divine plan for him and so was undoubtedly willing to accept the suffering that reaching them entailed.

In our own lives we may be frequently confronted with adversity and whether to make the decisions necessary to change, to try to advance ourselves at considerable cost and risk, or whether to resign ourselves to the status quo. We should avail ourselves of expert counseling and pray for guidance to know what the Divine plan is for us. If we feel secure in the knowledge that G-d wants us to advance and develop to our optimum potential, we should not retreat because of the personal cost entailed.

Infants are fortunate. They do not have to choose whether to remain toothless or to accept the stress of teething. While we do have such choices, we should pray for the wisdom to make the right one and the courage to follow through.