Yael Eckstein | December 5, 2023
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. — Genesis 37:3
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayeshev, which means “and he lived,” from Genesis 37:1—40:23.
If you have ever felt that your troubles are too much for you to handle or questioned why God gave them to you in the first place, then read on. This teaching has inspired me during some of my most difficult times, and I know that it will give you encouragement as well.
In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the special coat that Jacob made for Joseph. In Hebrew, the word that describes Joseph’s unique coat is passim. This word has been interpreted in various ways including “striped,” “ornate,” and “multi-colored.”
However, according to one Jewish commentator, the word passim is an acronym for the troubles that Joseph would face during this life: Potiphar, Sale, Ishmaelites, and Midianites. These four terms allude to Joseph being sold to Ishmaelites, then to Midianites, and eventually to Potiphar, who ultimately would throw Joseph in jail based on his wife’s false accusations.
According to this opinion, Joseph’s coat symbolizes his most painful challenges in life, and yet, it was made for him by his father, with love. What this teaches us is that, in the same way, all the troubles we encounter are made for us by our Father in heaven. They are tailor-made with love and suit us perfectly.
When we feel like our challenges are more than we can handle, we need to remember that God sends us exactly what we can bear. When we get upset and wonder, “Why me?” we need to remember that God sends us precisely the troubles that we need in order to move to the next level in our lives. God knows exactly what He is giving us and why; He makes sure that our challenges fit us to a T.
Moreover, just as we may wear a garment for a time, but not forever, our troubles are not meant to be with us for the rest of our lives. We are meant to overcome our challenges and outgrow them. Our current difficulties are temporary. They will serve a purpose and then be gone.
We should never forget that every trouble comes from our Heavenly Father with love. Our challenges make us stronger, better, and greater. We ought to bear them with grace and wear them with love.
Be a Holy Land Hero
When we pray for each other, our challenges are easier to overcome. Pledge today to pray for the people of Israel, as they continue to face an ongoing war against those who wish her harm.