Issue 31 | Parshat Vayechi | Ambassadors of Suffering Souls



The Inner Meaning of Distress

Some of us who suffer have the resources and strengths to endure our challenges, and perhaps even find hope and resolution. Some have their prayers answered. But what of those who do not have this endurance? Who do not have resources? Whose prayers remain unanswered?

What of those that cry out: “I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had hidden and was gone; my soul went out when he spoke; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he did not answer me”?When you are in distress or in pain, your first instinct is to do whatever it takes to relieve the pain. There’s nothing wrong with that. But at best, this may alleviate your pain and nothing more.

Did you ever consider that your sensitivity and suffering experiences allow you to have empathy so that you can help others in need?

In the opening of this week’s portion we read that Jacob lived – truly lived – the last and best years of his life in Egypt. How could Jacob have lived his best years in the depraved land of Egypt?

In this week’s insight, the Baal Shem Tov, learning from Jacob in the opening verse of this week’s Torah portion, reveals for us a powerful and moving message about pain and suffering, and our responsibility to serve as messengers to help others in pain. Discover a new approach to dealing with distress: Don’t ignore the pain, but direct your efforts to the root of the pain, not its symptoms. And then the source of the distress can become a source of great redemption – to you and to everyone around you.


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