Thick and Thin by Ilan Tokayer


ויהי ה' את יוסף ויהי איש מצליח ויהי בבית אדוניו המצרי

There is a Chassidic story, recorded in Parparot Latorah, about Rabbi Mendele of Remonov.  Rabbi Mendele had a son who was very poor.  Each week, Rabbi Mendele would give his son three rubles.  After this had gone on for quite some time the son asked Rabbi Mendele, “Why do you give me only three rubles every week?  I would live so much more comfortably if you would give me six!”  Rabbi Mendele explained, “My son, I give you only three rubles every week because I want you to have to depend on Hashem for your Parnasa.  If I were to give you six, I am afraid that you would not feel so dependent on Hashem for your well being.”

The Daat Zekenim as well as Tosafot interpret the Pasuk to mean, “And Hashem was with Yosef when he was a prosperous man and also when he was in the house of his master, the Mitzri.”  There are some people who serve Hashem only when things are going well for them.  As soon as things start to go bad and worshipping Hashem is no longer easy for them, they forget Hashem.  There are other people who turn to Hashem when times are bad and they are in need.  As soon as they no longer need Hashem, they forget Him.  It is only a true Tzaddik who is able to establish closeness with Hashem at all times, both when it is easy and when it is more difficult. 

From this Pasuk, we learn that Yosef had Emunah in Hashem throughout his life, when he was sold to the Yishmaelim, when he was a slave to Potifar, when he was a prisoner, and even when he was Mishneh Lamelech to Paroh.  We see that Yosef had Emunah in Hashem at all times, when he was the lowest of the low and also when he was essentially the most powerful man in the world.  (We see the same idea cited in the Midrash Rabbah, Shemot 1:2, that when Yosef was in Mitzrayim, he had the same faith that he was when he had when he was in his father Yaakov's house.)

The Chafetz Chaim asked why in Birchat Hachodesh do we ask Hashem for “Yirat Shamayim Veyirat Chet” and then for “Osher Vechavod” and then again for “Yirat Shamayim.”  He answered that at first we ask for Yirat Shamayim, then we ask for Osher Vechavod.  The second time we ask for Yirat Shamayim is asking for Yirat Shamayim once we already have Osher Vechavod.  We are asking Hashem for the ability to have Yirat Shamayim both when things are good for us, and when things are not as good.

As Jews, it is our job to act like Yosef Hatzaddik.  Yosef went through both good and bad, yet throughout the ordeals, he took his Emunah in Hashem with him.  During hard times, such as like the current situation of the Jewish people, we must have Emunah more than ever.  Sometimes it is easy to lose belief when things are bad, but it is our job to use those bad times to strengthen our Bitachon in Hashem.  Hopefully, we can learn from Yosef, and take Hashem with us everywhere we go and we can too become an “Ish Matzliach” in all of our endeavors.

Smell and Taste by Josh Dubin

Hashem’s Hashgacha by Sam Wiseman