In Parshat Vayechi, we learn that Yaakov lived 147 years and he spent the last 17 years in Egypt. The Zohar Hakodesh tells us something very interesting. It says that the biggest part of Yaakov’s life was in Egypt because there he lived with joy and peace. How is it possible that Yaakov didn’t have peace and joy when in he lived in the holy land, the land of spirituality? Yet in Egypt, of all places, the land of impurity and immorality where his descendants were going to be slaves, he felt at peace and he was joyful?
Reb Nosson tells us that Yaakov is an example to each of us. Each of us experiences exile. We experience Egypt. Throughout our lives we have periods of “Egypt”, sometimes even daily. We struggle with family, finances, health, relationships. We feel so alone. We struggle with a deep spiritual exile when we feel far away from Hashem; when we feel that Hashem isn’t with us. Or when we feel cut off from our trues selves. These are all periods of exile.
When we can grab a hold of our sadness, depression, apathy, and anxiety and we work to transform our pain into joy, that brings about the greatest happiness and the greatest peace. Yaakov was able to find this joy and peace and be very happy in Egypt because he was able to remind himself that there would be future release from suffering. He knew there would be a future redemption – the Geulah would come. Throughout our lives we have the option of choosing to remind ourselves that our personal and national redemption will come. Hashem is with us even in our exile.
May you have a day where you remember that suffering will end and will redemption will come.
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