These are the generations of Yaakov (Bereshis 37:2)
—–When Yaakov sought to live in tranquility, the troubles of Yosef came upon him (RASHI)
Have you ever dreamed of how nice life will be when you can finally retire? Yaakov Avinu thought of the tranquility of retirement and how easy life would be. He would be able to learn the entire day in happiness. Well, his retirement did not turn out to be all he thought it would be – suddenly his son is taken away from him for 22 years.
Last week, the mega lotto was $550 Million. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have won that! There are so many great things I could do with that amount of money!
Did you know that most lottery winners become depressed? Many of them get divorced. And if you can believe it, there are a large amount of lottery winners who go bankrupt. Also, a person needs to remember that suddenly he is going to have new friends who are asking for some help, and because you have so much money, you can certainly help everyone in the world. Everyone will want you to pay off their mortgage – they’re only asking for a few hundred thousand each and since you have so many millions, it shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Next, think about what you would do with that money. There are only so many vacations you can go on. And so many cars you can buy. And so many houses you can own. There is only so much food you can eat. Winning the lottery might sound like fun and it is fun for a short time, but after a while, like with everything else, you will be bored of it.
Okay, so maybe you wisely decided that you don’t need loads of money. But better looks would be helpful.
Well, Yosef was one of the most handsome men who ever lived. In this week’s parsha, his master’s wife was so infatuated with his looks that she tried to seduce him (and she was very close to being successful). In the end, Yosef was falsely accused of abusing his master’s wife and was in jail for 12 years, which all began because of his good looks.
Sara was one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. Not only once, but twice, she was taken from her husband and almost abused by a low-life king. In the end, she was saved only because of miracles, but I am sure that she did not enjoy the experience.
Okay, okay… I get the point… But maybe I could be a little more talented?
Well, over the summer I was at my parent’s house and found my old Wayne Gretzky autobiography, so I decided to start reading it again. By the age of ten, Gretzky was not only breaking records, but destroying them. Well, the parents of the other children on the team felt that Gretzky was a puck-hog. They would take stopwatches to the game and yell at Gretzky that he had the puck for too long (even though the teammates didn’t mind and they won most, if not all, of their games). At his home arena, many fans would “boo” at him when he came on the ice. Remember, he is only 10 years old at this time. It got so bad that he needed to move away from his family to avoid these fans.
The lesson is we need to be happy with what we have in our life right now and not desire to have something that someone else has. We do not need to be rich, beautiful, or talented to be happy. We should be happy with what we have at this moment.
Reb Zisha used to say, “I am not worried that Hashem will ask me why I didn’t reach the level of Avraham, Yitzchak, or Yaakov. I’m not worried if he asks why I was not Moshe or Aharon. I am worried that he will ask me why I wasn’t Reb Zisha.”
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