The opening words in this week's Torah Portion (Vayeishev - Genesis 37:1 - 40:23) translate to, "Jacob settled..." After a full life Jacob makes a decision to settle down a little. No more wandering...enjoy life. But G-d has other plans and what was to have been a "retirement" turns into more work for this righteous man. In other words, G-d was not done with Jacob...he had work to do. And, this week we learn how Jacob's faith was not shaken when his son Joseph was presumed...dead.
The rabbis tell us that G-d can't allow righteous people to "settle" because there are too few of them and there is so much work to be done. And, we have to ask ourselves, "What if Jacob had settled in Israel? What if Joseph had not been kidnapped? What if Joseph did not make his way to Egypt? What if Jacob had not packed his tent, yet again, and go down to Egypt? Would we have escaped enslavement and the ultimate redemption at Siani where we received the Torah?
The story tells us that, at all times, G-d is in charge. We'll talk more about this, the sweet smelling caravan and a brief pre-Chanukah message this weekend. From all of us at Adas Israel...have a wonderful Shabbos! - Adas Israel, Mason City, Iowa