Parshas Vayigash

Genesis 44:18 - 47:27

"Moving" ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Michael and Mrs. Channah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

Holy reader, whenever it is necessary to move from a place you love, words cannot describe what you experience! Moving from the home you love... Leaving the city... the county... the state... the country of your birth for a less desirable destination is often vexing and becomes a gargantuan task. Moving is one of the great stresses of life, especially if it means one will not be able to return to the place they love.

Stories On Moving
Ruth was a single divorced senior. She had a meager one bedroom apartment in a large city on the west coast of America. Ruth lived in housing originally built for US Military service personnel from the Second World War. The area was nice. She was comfortable with her main level accommodations until one day when she took a nasty fall. Ruth broke her hip and her heart. She was rushed to the hospital where she was treated for her broken hip and eventually transferred to a care facility where she recovered from her hip problem but not from her broken heart! Ruth was unable to return to her lovely little apartment or to care for herself as in the past. She was in her mid eighties...

Sarah experienced a trying D I V O R C E which resulted in the court ordered sale of the family home that she had enjoyed with her children for more than a dozen years. She and her children were close to relatives, friends, community, temple, employment and schools. The new condo they would be forced to live in would be quite a step down from their large beautiful home. It was humbling! It was difficult! Neither Sarah nor her children could quite adjust to their new environment...

Sam was a successful businessman who suffered one defeat after another during five plus years of recession and reorganization. Eventually he was forced to sell or close each of his retail outlets and to seek employment in a poor economy...

Holy reader, my wife and I have found it necessary to move many times for one reason or another. We have purchased, designed or remodeled our dream home just to pull up stakes and move from our desired area. This is often very difficult and expensive. It is during times / struggles like these that we realize how little we actually have control over.

A dear rabbi friend lost his position. He had a large family with three children learning away from home. His wife was earning her doctorate degree while also working par t-time. It was devastating. They had no savings. They had no warning... They were immediately destitute!

The newspapers carried the story of a family of ranchers that was forced to sell its land because of inheritance taxes. When the father died the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren could not pay the necessary taxes. They were forced to sell their family ranch of five generations where they were born and raised...

Yaakov, his sons and grandchildren, all mentioned in this week's Torah parsha {Genesis 46}, found themselves in a similar situation when drought hit their land, when grass didn't grow, when crops failed, when wells dried up and when famine was everywhere. It was a most difficult time. They were forced to leave Canaan, the place of Yaakov's birth. They were forced to leave their country... Their lives were disrupted! They were uprooted! They were fearful... They were faced with some difficult choices. These were some hard times!!

Recently the papers carried stories of how much wealthy businesspeople and corporations lost on paper after a year of tumultuous ups and downs on the world stock market. The Nasdaq lost almost 50% of its year high. Many investments went out with the wind... So one has to wonder, what will this next year bring?? One has to be concerned... 'How will this affect me and the ones I love?' Dear reader, this is what Yaakov and his family faced thousands of years ago as their land began to dry up, as water resources shrank and eventually disappeared. They faced transporting food from long distances {Mitzriam} with little or no water to support the animals hauling the food. These were very tumultuous times on the world economy!

They were faced with moving to save their lives and their livestock. Their lives, their investments {cattle}, their family business of generations were all in serious jeopardy! They were in trouble! They had to move. Most of them would only visit Canaan once again before death. Yaakov's immediate children would never again live in the land of their father or grandfather, Avraham. So Yaakov and his children had to move. It was not a move of choice. It was a move of survival.

In our situations we too are faced with moves from our favorite home, employment position, school community, etc... How do we handle the hardships of moving? How do we face up to the stresses of unwanted change? How do we refocus and go on? Well... last week in Parshas Mikeitz we discussed Yosief's inside world, his spiritual world, his connection to Hashem, to the Torah, to observance and to Torah study which remained constant even in his confinement! His inside world was unaltered! Dear reader, when we maintain our inside world as Yosief did, moving will not have the same effect on us!! WHY NOT? Because wherever we go we have the presence of an inside world which is unaltered... which remains stable... which we have established and beautified... Which we have set aside to honor, worship and praise Hashem our G-d... Which we have built over years of constant prayer and study...

How we develop our inside world is up to us. How we beautify our inner being is our choice. Holy reader, there is something very special to rising early... to study before sunrise... to pray early, at the first glimpse of sunlight on the mountains in the east. There are many special things that one can develop to make their inner world wonderful. On Shabbos in the Belk mishpacha we have a study room where the light remains on throughout Shabbos. This simple pleasure can and often does lead to many relaxing hours of study.

Dear reader, there are many special things one can do to make the inner world unique and special so when we are forced into situations of moving or confinement or whatever in the outer world, we still have the wonderful pleasure of the inner world as a place of release and enjoyment, thank G-d!

Good Shabbos,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk


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