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Your choices decide the future

Thursday, 29 November, 2018 - 1:20 pm

Wondering How You Got Here?

Do you ever scratch your head and wonder “how did I get here?” How did I end up in this situation?! Or perhaps your question is a faith-based one “why did things get orchestrated the way they did for me to be in this situation?”

When things are going good, we tend not to pause to ask those questions. It is usually in frustration or exacerbation that these questions are expressed or contemplated.

In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob sets into motion a series of events that are to determine the destiny of the Jewish People. It all starts with a simple request that Jacob makes of Joseph: “go seek out the welfare of your brothers (who are shepherding the flock) in Shechem”.

Joseph arrives as the brothers put into motion their plan to have him killed. Fortunately, they do not kill him but rather sell him into slavery which lands him in Egypt. After a series of events, over many years, Joseph becomes the Viceroy of Egypt, saving the country from famine. Eventually, the brothers come down to Egypt looking for food and this brings to reconciliation between them and ultimately the descent of Jacob into Egypt. The Jewish slavery commences after the passing of the brothers and years later, guided by Moses, the Jewish People are liberated and brought to Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah.

I encourage you to read the weekly Torah portion. It is a good read and does not get old even though you may have read it last year or the one before that.)

This entire journey of the Jewish People started with the simple request that Jacob makes of Joseph.

Joseph accepts his father’s request and then the Torah says, and Jacob sent Joseph from the “depths of Chevron (Hebron)”.

Our Sages say that the depths of Chevron is a reference to the counsel of the wise one buried there. This is a reference to Abraham, to whom G-d promised that his children would be strangers in a strange land and then they will be redeemed and given the Torah and the Land of Israel.

What seems to be a simple request is actually quite a cosmic event and is transformative to all of Jewish history, and indeed all of world history.
Indeed, Jacob and Joseph, and the stories of the Torah, are fundamental and cosmic. But, in reality, each of our little choices is cosmic. Each of our choices sets into motion a series of reactions and results that have long-term impacts and consequences.

Our job is to use our best moral and ethical judgment in making the decisions we make and then we can sit back and relax knowing that all of the other things happening around us are the workings of G-d above.

Have a great Shabbos!

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