The Light at the End of the Tunnel

A positive outlook on the world can go a long way towards making situations feel more manageable.

Commentary on Parashat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1 - 40:23

Have you been pushed to go to an event that you did not want to attend, and then had a great time? Ever start out disliking a very demanding teacher who later in the year becomes appreciated for making you a much better student? In life many times “things might not be what they seem at first.”

This week’s Torah portion, Vayeshev, contains what might be one of the most famous examples of the idea that things which start off badly might come to a good end. Joseph, the favored youngest son of Jacob, is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He seems destined for a life of enslavement in Egypt when a turn of fortune brings him into good graces with the Pharoah. Joseph’s life quickly changes as he rises to the top of Egyptian society, gaining fame, security and fortune. This is a very positive end to a dreadful beginning.

Sometimes we simply need to look a little harder to find the good in what feels bad. Often we just need patience to wait for changes. It can be hard to hold out hope when things feel as though they are not going your way, but a positive outlook on the world can go a long way towards making situations feel more manageable. Being able to look forward and see a “light at the end of the tunnel” can help make the journey there much easier.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about some positive unexpected outcomes in their life and in yours.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· When was a time in your life that you had an unexpected outcome?

· How does it make you feel when events don’t turn out the way you expect?

· How do you manage when things don’t feel like they are going your way?

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

 

Discover More

Guide to Weekly Torah Commentaries Online

Where to find podcasts, videos and essays on the week's portion.

The Torah

Five books of story, law, and poetry divided into 54 weekly portions.

End-of-Life Care in the Bible

What we can learn from Jacob, Sarah and Moses’ final moments.

Modern Israel at a Glance

An overview of the Jewish state and its many accomplishments and challenges.

Black-Jewish Relations in America

Relations between African Americans and Jews have evolved through periods of indifference, partnership and estrangement.

The Book of Eicha: Faith in a Whirlwind

At the core of Lamentations is an expression of faith in the human capacity to survive in a broken world.