Parshas Toldos 5782
Preparing for Challenges[Editor’s note: As a memory of my beloved brother Shaya, I would like to continue sending out his pearls of wisdom that he has shared with all of you in the past. For some of you this may ring a bell and for others it may appear to be totally new. May the learning of Shaya’s Divrei Torah inspire us to change our ways and thereby give an Aliya to the neshama of our dear beloved Shaya whom we miss so much. A special thank you to Aaron Friedman for always looking over the divrei torah.]
In Parshas Toldos, Rivka tells Yaakov, ‘עלי קללתך בני.’ The simple explanation is that Rivka was accepting any curse or punishment that would come upon Yaakov for lying to his father.
The Vilna Gaon explains on a deeper level: Rivka was telling Yaakov that the ‘curses’ i.e. the difficult tests that Yaakov will face in the future, are ‘עלי’-an acronym standing for, לבן ,עשו and יוסף. Rivka was telling Yaakov that dealing with Eisav and Lavan as well as the episode with Yosef were going to be his three big tests in life. Based on this, the Gra explains another Pasuk.
When Yosef’s brothers wanted to take Binyamin down to Mitzrayim, Yaakov said to them ‘עלי היה כלנה.’ Meaning, the ‘עלי’ that my mother warned me about, ‘היה כלנה’, has already happened, and losing Binyamin wasn’t one of those issues, so why are you trying to take Binyamin?
Why did Rivka deem it necessary to tell Yaakov what his big tests in life were going to be?
Perhaps the answer is that when you know in advance that you are going to struggle with something, it’s much easier to cope with it. For example, if a couple knows in advance that they are only going to be together for a certain number of years, then they will truly appreciate that time together, and it will be easier to handle when the time is up. So perhaps this is why Rivka told Yaakov in advance that he is going to have some big tests and struggles with Eisav, Lavan, and Yosef; it was so that he would be prepared for them when they actually occur.
Nowadays, we don’t have prophesy to be able to know in advance what our struggles are going to be. So how can we be prepared for our difficult trials and tribulations?
The answer is by expecting less. The less we expect, be it in regards to health, in regards to having or raising kids, in regards to financial security, etc., the more appreciative we will be when we do get the things we desire, and the easier it will be to handle the tough situations when they occur.
May we all work on trying to expect less from Hashem, and work on being truly grateful for what do we have while we have it, recognizing that it is all a precious gift from Hashem.