As we read the Torah portion this week, Vayechi, the last parsha in the book of Genesis, we see Jewish history unfolding in front of our eyes.
Yaakov Avinu and Yosef pass away, and the good years seem to disappear as if they didn’t exist. The terrible exile of Yaakov’s children is about to come.
The Torah is always telling us stories about our past and about our future. By reading and rereading the same Torah portions each week, we connect to our past history and receive strength to deal with our present situation and future ones as well.
In Israel we have just entered our 3rd lockdown. It’s very difficult to see so many store owners, especially the small ones, practically going out of business. On the other hand, we have great hope each time the country shuts down that perhaps now, things will change and life will finally get back to normal. During these lockdowns you can hear the frustration of the people and the despair in the air, whether it’s in the pharmacies that still function, or in the supermarkets that are filled as if there were no tomorrow. However, in the midst of all the tension and frustration of what will and won’t be, there were lots of happy events that took place, such as weddings, a night before everything shut down.
I attended one of these weddings that was pushed up by a few weeks, in order to make it before it was forbidden.
There is definitely a time for everything under the sun. This wedding was planned and the families were prepared for a different date, and in 3 days when the news of the 3rd shutdown was official, the wedding was pushed up just like that. I stood at that chuppah and was amazed. The happiness that was felt in the air was exhilarating. Here were two families who planned a wedding with all it entails, for a certain date, and then came the news of the lockdown. It’s well known that it’s not a good sign to push off weddings. And these families put all the difficulties of hastening the wedding and making it so much earlier on such short notice aside, and created a celebration that was beyond any physical beauty one could have orchestrated.
Hashem who commanded us to get married according to Jewish law, was overjoyed by the self-sacrificing act of these people. They pushed aside all technical challenges surrounding the organization of this wedding, and put Hashem and His commandments in the forefront. The happy energy was flowing from every corner of the room. I stood there and was so happy to be part of such a celebration. Not just the happiness that we experience at all weddings, here there was happiness that shouted out, Hashem is in charge and there is a time for everything. And Hashem knows exactly when that time is.
We plan so many things all the time, and Hashem who is the master planner makes the best plans. By staying connected to Hashem and the Torah, we will always know what the best thing to do is. We are not governed by people who change their minds every second. Nor are we controlled by some terrible virus that wants to spread its poison to all mankind.
We are Jews, with a very rich history of challenges, and success. We have great ancestors who paved the way for all future generations. When Yaakov Avinu blessed his sons before he left this world, he was blessing us all. He was sending a message to every Jew in every generation to this very day. He was telling us that there will be hard times, and that there will be light. Only if we follow the way of the Torah will we know exactly what to do, and how not to get lost, even in the darkest of times.
In Yaakov Avinu’s blessings there was a message for us here in Israel entering our 3rd lockdown. And at that wedding we all felt our Father’s blessings, telling us that indeed there is a time for everything under the sun.