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The Trials of Yosef trying times and the bigger picture

EVERY MOVE IS STRATEGIC. EVERYTHING IS PLANNED.

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INSTRUCTOR'S OVERVIEW INSTRUCTOR

5

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LESSON

LESSON OBJECTIVES

• Students should keep their faith even during dark and trying times. • Students should not despair and give up when faced with challenges but should keep strong and forge forward.

• Students should remain calm and not become angry at G-d, others, or themselves when something does not turn out the way they hoped it would. • Students should utilize the “mistakes” that happen in life as opportunities for growth and not view them as excuses for failure. • Students should have bitachon that everything will turn out for the good. • Students should be able to explain how the Jews ended up in Egypt.

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LEARNING OBJECTIVE

• Students should be able to fill in the Summary section and explain their answers when asked to do so.

PREFACE

“G

-d of all the creations, master of all events, Who is extolled with many praises. He who conducts His world with kindness and His creations with compassion. Indeed G-d does not slumber nor sleep.” —Nishmas Kol Chai In the past few lessons, we conducted an introspective exploration of the Jew. We examined the spiritual “anatomy” of the Jew—the neshamah and animal soul, learned how to deal with inner struggles, and discussed the importance of self-control and making active choices. But what about things that are not in our control? What about events in our lives that do not offer us a choice? In Lesson 5 we will conduct an extrospection of the world around us. How do we deal with struggles that are not within us but without? How do we deal with the challenges presented by the world around us? How do we react when things seem to be totally out of our hands?

Mining the story of Yosef and his brothers for life lessons, Lesson 5 will introduce the concept of hashgachah pratis, divine providence and oversight.1 Students will 1

Bereishis 50:20.

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discover that everything that happens has a reason and a purpose.2 Even when there is no conceivable reason for a given event, we must recognize that Hashem’s wisdom transcends the greatest foresight and intelligence of any human being.3 Only He can truly understand and appreciate the purpose of it all.4 Our periodic insights into the bigger picture give us faith that everything is for the good.5

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The understanding of hashgachah pratis will help students keep their faith in the face of challenges,6 and will also encourage students not to despair or give up at difficult times when they might feel like they have lost control of their lives and cannot see where things are headed. When students recognize that they are not subjected to the whims of a chaotic, random universe but that their existence is a meaningful act of G-d, they will be encouraged to find the strength to keep strong and forge ahead, even if the path is daunting.7

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Additionally, the principle of hashgachah pratis will help students understand that there is no such thing as a mistake. Whatever situation in which they find themselves in life, as hard as it may seem, must be exploited as an opportunity for growth and not as an excuse for failure— this “mistake” was orchestrated by the Master of all events.8 This idea also fosters a sense of serenity and bitachon that everything will turn out for the good, even when something, big or small, does not turn out the way we hoped it would.9 In summary, even when things are “out of our hands” they are not out of control—they are in Hashem’s hands.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Brachos 60b. Yishaya 55:8; Pasach Eliyahu, Introduction to Tikunai Zohar. Niddah 31a. Brachos 60b. Kidushin 39b. Tanya, Ch. 26. Bereishis 50:20. Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaBitachon.

NOTES

The objective of this lesson is not so much to answer the greater philosophical questions, such as “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Nor is the objective to explain how horrific events like the Holocaust are not a contradiction to Hashem’s existence. Similarly, this lesson is not focused on arguing and proving the existence of Hashem. The primary objective of this lesson is to give practical tools to students for dealing with everyday setbacks and greater challenges that they may personally encounter throughout life. Emphasize the foundational principle that everything that happens in our personal lives has a purpose and is not arbitrary.

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KEY CONCEPTS 1.

2. Sometimes you cannot control the circumstances of your life, and certain things are not in your control.

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In life, there are bright times and there are dark ones.

3.

Yosef’s life seemed to have gone from bad to worse, but at the end of the story it is evident that everything that had happened to him was for a good purpose.10

4.

The Jews ended up in Egypt because of two factors: (a) Yosef’s brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt; and (b) years later, the brothers were dependent on Yosef, who became viceroy of Egypt, for sustenance during a harsh regional famine.

5. Hashem orchestrates our every step and everything that happens around us.11 6. Everything that happens has a good purpose.12 7.

What seems bad and painful may be a blessing in disguise.13

8. One can only truly understand the deeper purpose of everything through seeing the broader divine picture.14 9. Sometimes the picture is bigger than our eyes can see, and the story is longer than our lives; we may never come to know the true purpose for certain events.15

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10. We should never give up or despair, even when we experience hard times; the knowledge that everything has a purpose and is for the good should empower us to get through the worst challenges.16 10

Bereishis 50:20, op. cit.

11

Regarding hashgachah pratis for human beings, see: Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 169; Moreh Nevuchim, vol. 3, ch. 17. Regarding hashgachah pratis in general, see: Derech Chaim, Shaar HaTeshuvah, Ch. 9.

12

Brachos 60b; Taanis 21a.

13

Brachos 60b; Taanis 21a.

14

Niddah 31a.

15

Ibid.

16

Tanya, Ch. 26.

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INSTRUCTOR

INTRO Challenges and hard times

EXAMINE

In the previous lesson, we discovered that every person has an inner struggle between the two souls, between the mind and heart. The winner of the struggle is up to you; if you choose, your mind can control your heart and prevail. But can you really win every struggle? Is everything really in your control? What about your struggles with external challenges? How do you deal with challenges and dark times that are not in your control?

We revisit the story of our history to explore one of the major setbacks in the beginning of our family’s history and to observe how our ancestors responded.

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If G-d is good, why does He allow bad things to happen?

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LESSON OVERVIEW

INVESTIGATE

How your uncle made it from prison to prime minister

In the story of Yosef and his brothers, we discover that although it initially seems as though Yosef’s life went from bad to worse, ultimately it all was for the best: “Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] G-d designed it for good, in order to bring about what is at present to keep a great populace alive” (Bereishis 50:20).

Let us think again about the story of Yosef. If someone had passed away before Yosef’s release from prison and his promotion to viceroy of Egypt, they would have thought that Yosef suffered a very bitter fate. This conclusion would be, of course, premature and would lack the complete story. One can draw a fair conclusion only after seeing the entire scope of the story.

In truth, none of us ever really knows the full story or sees the entire picture of what happens in life. The only one who sees the entire story from the beginning of time to all of eternity, from the expanses of the cosmos and the complexity of the human psyche to the function of the tiniest cell, is Hashem. Periodic insights into the precision of nature and the orchestration of events in our lives can offer illuminating perspectives on what is really happening all the time and all around us.

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ACT How do you respond to hard times and challenges?

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Even painful and difficult challenges should not lead to despair: We should remind ourselves that everything occurs for a purpose and is an opportunity for growth.

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It is highly recommended that you review the Summary section of the previous lessons with your students before continuing with each lesson. Summarizing the previous lessons at the beginning of each session helps the students retain the information and practice the skills they learned.

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#YOSEF #HARD TIMES #BIGGER PICTURE

EVERY MOVE IS STRATEGIC. EVERYTHING IS PLANNED.

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LESSON 5

The Trials of Yosef

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trying times and the bigger picture

Challenges and hard times

INTRO

If G-d is good, why does He allow bad things to happen?

INVESTIGATE

How your uncle made it from prison to prime minister

EXAMINE How do you respond to hard times and challenges?

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CHALLENGES

INTRO

CHALLENGES AND HARD TIMES

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KEY CONCEPTS

• In life, there are bright times and there are dark ones. • Sometimes you cannot control the circumstances of your life, and certain things are not in your control.

INTRODUCTION

In the past few lesson we have taken a more introspective approach to living as a Jew. We discussed the spiritual “anatomy” of a Jew and the constant internal tension between our two souls, and learned about self-control and the ability to make choices, which are important life skills. In this lesson we will take a more extrospective approach. We will discuss how to deal with realities that are not in our hands and over which we do not have control—circumstances that do not offer us a choice.

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Do bad things ever happen to you? Why?

The following question is only meant to be used as an opener and an anticipatory set to engage the students. We are not quite getting into it just yet. The discussion of this question will persist throughout the lesson. At this point, just listen to the students’ preliminary answers.

Listen for students’ answers. Every Jew has a G-dly soul, which loves and wants to please G-d. But we have an animal soul as well that is motivated by its own comfort. There is an ongoing struggle within us, as the neshamah and the mind pull in one direction while the animal soul and the heart pull in the other. You have the choice of which direction to follow. In a certain sense, your life is in your hands; you can choose what you will do. But can you control what happens to you? No. Is everything in your hands? No.

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What about external struggles? How do you deal with challenges that come from outside of

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yourself? Listen for students’ answers.

Do you give up when you face a challenge? Listen for students’ answers.

SCRATCH YOUR HEAD

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO… YOU?

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DO BAD THINGS EVER HAPPEN?

IF G-D IS GOOD, WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO REACT TO DIFFICULT CHALLENGES?

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TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

EXAMINE

HOW YOUR UNCLE MADE IT FROM PRISON TO PRIME MINISTER

• Yosef’s life seemed to have gone from bad to worse, but at the end of the story it is evident that everything that had happened to him was for a good purpose. • The Jews ended up in Egypt because of two factors: (a) Yosef’s brothers sold him as a slave to Egypt; and (b) years later, the brothers were dependent on Yosef, who became viceroy of Egypt, for sustenance during a harsh regional famine. INTRODUCTION

We revisit the story of our history to explore one of the major setbacks in the beginning of our family’s history and to observe how our ancestors responded. In the story of Yosef and his brothers, we observe that although it initially seems as though Yosef’s life went from bad to worse, ultimately it all was for the best: “Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] G-d designed it for good, in order to bring about what is at present to keep a great populace alive” (Bereishis 50:20).

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KEY CONCEPTS

Consider whether you want to read the lengthy texts inside or to simply tell the story. If you choose not to read the texts, tell the story one part at a time and after each section ask the questions that are found between the texts below.

Let’s continue the story of our people. Surely, life was not always easy. Let us examine one of the major setbacks in our family’s early history: How did our ancestors respond? The first Jew was Avraham. Avraham’s son, Yitzchak, had two sons, Yaakov and Eisav. Only Yaakov followed the path of his fathers. Yaakov had twelve sons, but he loved his 17-year-old son Yosef best. This made the other brothers jealous. Yosef had dreams and told stories, which did not help a bit. Let’s have a look. TEXT 1a

Bereishis 37–41 (Vayeishev, Mikeitz) And Yosef dreamed a dream and told his brothers, and they continued to hate him. And he said to them, “Listen now to this dream, which I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold, your sheaves encircled [it] and prostrated themselves to my

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sheaf.” So his brothers said to him, “Will you reign over us, or will you govern us?” And they continued further to hate him on account of his dreams and on account of his words.

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And he again dreamed another dream....

And his brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks in Shechem. And Yisrael [Yaakov] said to Yosef, “Are your brothers not pasturing in Shechem? ... Go now and see to your brothers’ welfare and the welfare of the flocks, and bring me back word.”

EXAMINE

…And they saw him from afar, and when he had not yet drawn near to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.... And Yehudah said to his brothers, “What is the gain if we slay our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let us sell him....” Then Midianite men, merchants, passed by, and they pulled and lifted Yosef from the pit [in which they

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had cast him], and they sold Yosef to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver [pieces], and they brought Yosef to Egypt.

Was Yosef’s life improved by his sale into slavery?

No.

Now let’s continue the story:

TIP

Some students may be well familiar with this story. If so, ask: According to what we read up until now, does it seem that Yosef’s life was improved by his sale into slavery?

TEXT 1b

Now Yosef had been brought down to Egypt, and Potifar, Pharaoh’s chamberlain, chief of the slaughterers, an Egyptian man, purchased him.... Now it came to pass after these events that his master’s wife lifted up her eyes to Yosef, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and he said to his master’s wife… “How can I commit this great evil, and sin against G-d?” ...And it came about on a certain day, that he came to the house to do his work, and none of the people of the house were there in the house. So she grabbed him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and went outside.

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EXAMINE

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She called to the people of her house, and she spoke to them, saying, “Look! He [my husband] brought us a Hebrew man to mock us. He [Yosef] came to me to lie with me, but I called loudly. And it happened that when he heard that I raised my voice and called out, he left his garment beside me, and he fled and went outside.” …So Yosef’s master took him and put him into prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were imprisoned, and he was there in the prison.

Did Yosef’s life in Egypt seem to get better or worse? Worse.

Now let’s continue the story:

TEXT 1c

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Now it came about after these events.... And Pharaoh became incensed at his two chamberlains, at the chief cupbearer and at the chief baker. And he placed them in the prison.... And Yosef came to them in the morning, and he saw them and behold, they were troubled. And he asked Pharaoh’s chamberlains who were with him in the prison of his master’s house, saying, “Why are your faces sad today?” And they said to him, “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter for it.” Yosef said to them, “Don’t interpretations belong to G-d? Tell [them] to me now.” So the chief cupbearer related his dream to Yosef, and he said to him, “In my dream, behold, a vine is before me. And on the vine are three tendrils… and I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I placed the cup on Pharaoh’s palm.” And Yosef said to him, “This is its meaning: the three tendrils are three days. In another three days, Pharaoh will number you [with the other officers], and he will restore you to your position, and you will place Pharaoh’s cup into his hand....”

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Now the chief baker… said to Yosef, “Me too! In my dream, behold, there were three wicker baskets on my head. And in the topmost basket were all kinds of Pharaoh’s food, the work of a baker, and the birds were eating them from the basket atop my head.” And Yosef replied and said, “This is its meaning: the three baskets represent three days. In another three days, Pharaoh will remove your head from you and hang you on a gallows, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.”

d TEXT 1d

EXAMINE

:

It came to pass at the end of two full years that Pharaoh was dreaming, and behold; he was standing by the Nile. And behold, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, of… robust flesh.... And behold, seven other cows… of ugly appearance and lean of flesh.... And the cows of ugly appearance and lean of flesh devoured the seven cows that were of handsome appearance and healthy; then Pharaoh awoke.

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And he fell asleep and dreamed again, and behold, seven ears of grain were growing on one stalk healthy and good....

But no one interpreted them [the dreams] for Pharaoh. Now the chief cupbearer spoke with Pharaoh, saying, “I call to mind my faults today. Pharaoh was angry with his servants and he put me in prison.... And we dreamed a dream… And there with us was a Hebrew lad… and he interpreted our dreams for us.... And it came to pass that just as he had interpreted, so it was; me he restored to my position, and him he hanged.”

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So Pharaoh sent and called Yosef.... And Pharaoh said to Yosef, “In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile....”

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EXAMINE

And Yosef said to Pharaoh, “…The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears of grain are seven years; it is one dream. And the seven meager and ugly cows coming up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears of grain, beaten by the east wind, will be seven years of famine.... Behold, seven years are coming, great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. And seven years of famine will arise after them, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt....

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“So now, let Pharaoh seek out an understanding and wise man and appoint him over the land of Egypt.... And let them collect all the food of these coming seven good years, and let them gather the grain under Pharaoh’s hand, food in the cities, and keep it. Thus the food will remain as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will be in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not be destroyed by the famine.” …Then Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Since G-d has let you know all this, there is no one as understanding and wise as you. You shall be [appointed] over my household, and through your command all my people shall be nourished; only [with] the throne will I be greater than you.” So Pharaoh said to Yosef, “Look, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt.” And Pharaoh removed his ring from his hand and placed it on Yosef’s hand, and he attired him [with] raiment of fine linen, and he placed the golden chain around his neck.

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INTRODUCTION

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The following question emphasizes that not only was Yosef’s life improved by his appointment to viceroy, but ultimately it was being sold as a slave and falsely imprisoned that led to this great stage of Yosef’s life.

EXAMINE

Did slavery and prison improve or worsen Yosef’s life? Improved.

Sure enough, the famine arrived and the entire region dried up, including Israel. Yosef’s brothers traveled down to Egypt to buy food. Initially, Yosef concealed his identity and behaved rudely toward them, but after a turn of events he finally revealed his true identity to his brothers: Bereishis 45:3–11

TEXT 2

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And Yosef said to his brothers, “I am Yosef. Is my father still alive? …I am your brother Yosef, whom you sold into Egypt. But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that G-d sent me before you.... And now, you did not send me here, but G-d.... Hasten and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘So said your son, Yosef: “G-d has made me a lord over all the Egyptians. Come down to me; do not tarry.... And I will sustain you....”#’#”

Bereishis 50:20 (Vayechi)

TEXT 3

Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] G-d designed it for good, in order to bring about what is at present to keep a great populace alive.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE—IT MAY BE BIGGER THAN YOU

INVESTIGATE

IF G-D IS GOOD, WHY DOES HE ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN?

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KEY CONCEPTS

• Hashem orchestrates our every step and everything that happens around us. • Everything that happens has a good purpose. • What seems bad and painful may be a blessing in disguise. • One can only truly understand the deeper purpose of everything through seeing the broader divine picture. • Sometimes the picture is bigger than our eyes can see, and the story is longer than our lives; we may never come to know the true purpose for certain events.

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INTRODUCTION

Let us reflect on Yosef’s story. Why did it originally seem that Yosef’s life was getting worse while in fact it was getting better? The obvious reason is: because we did not know the whole story. This teaches us a great lesson in life: we can never really understand what is happening until we see the whole story. The only one who sees the entire story from the beginning of time to all of eternity—and the only one who can see the entire picture— is Hashem. Periodic insights into the precision of nature and the orchestration of events in our lives can offer perspectives on what is really happening all the time and all around us.

Did you change your mind about Yosef’s experiences? Why? Yes, because at first I did not know the entire story.

What if someone had only lived to see Yosef’s imprisonment but never lived to see how the rest of his life would turn out? What would their thoughts likely be about Yosef’s story? Yosef had a very sad life.

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Would their thoughts and judgments be accurate and true? Why or why not? it turned out at the end. CONCLUSION

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No, because he or she does not know how

We can only truly appreciate and understand what is really happening in our lives after seeing the full picture. What may seem bad and difficult during the actual experience may be part of a larger master plan. As Yosef himself later says, “Indeed, you intended evil against me, [but] G-d designed it for good.” Is there any person who can really know every detail of everything in every place? Is there any person who can really know the entire story from the beginning until the end of time? No.

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Is there anyone who can truly understand every event, on every level, in every dimension? Yes: Hashem.

TIP

If you will not be showing this video, skip the following question and the short conclusion that follows it.

INTRODUCTION

The following video begins with an image of a rooster’s crown and zooms out to reveal one reality inside of another.

WATCH THIS: 2:40

ZOOM

Does it end there? __________________

CONCLUSION

What we see is only a tiny puzzle piece of the reality that G-d is assembling. If you see only one or two pixels of a picture, it can look like a mess. Only after seeing the entire image does it all come together. Sometimes the picture is bigger than our eyes, and the story is longer than our lives. Only Hashem can really see the entire master plan. We can have periodic insights into how certain events are necessary to lead to an ultimately good resolution, which can help us navigate through all the other times that are more difficult. Everything has a purpose, and every event has a reason. Accepting that there is a master plan guiding the course of our lives will help us see the positivity in everything.

CONCLUSION

No! The entire universe and beyond is all on G-d’s “screen.” These kids watching the rooster don’t realize they are only a small part of someone’s greater plan. Their reality is but a small piece of the greater realities outside of theirs.

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ACTIVITY There may be many reasons why our perception is blocked. Sometimes it is a matter of perspective: you may be looking at it the wrong way. Observe the images below.

Do you see the vase? Do you see the two faces?

“My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” from 1915

INVESTIGATE

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HUMAN PERCEPTION

Do you see the old woman? Do you see the young woman?

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Sometimes we are simply missing an entire dimension. What does the image below look like? Why?

By Manfred Stader

And sometimes we may just not be looking at it from the correct angle. WATCH THIS:

2:35

MASTER SPEED PAINTER

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FROM THE SAGES

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It was taught in the name of Rabbi Akiva: A person should always accustom oneself to say, “Whatever G-d does is for good,” as exemplified in the following incident. Rabbi Akiva was once traveling along the road when he came across a village. He looked for lodgings but was refused everywhere. He said: “Whatever G-d does is for good,” and he went to spend the night in an open field. He had with him a rooster, a donkey, and a candle. A gust of wind came and blew out the candle, a cat came and ate the rooster, and a lion came and ate the donkey. He said: “Whatever G-d does is for good.” That night brigands came and carried off the inhabitants of the village as captives. He said to them [his students] “Did I not say to you, ‘Whatever the G-d does is all for good’? [Had the candle been lit, the bandits would have seen me. Had the donkey brayed or the rooster crowed, they would have come and captured me (Rashi).]”

After reading this story, you can point out that had R. Akiva walked in the other direction and not observed the miracle that had just saved his life, he would have, till the end of his days, believed that that was the worst night of his life. His belief of “Whatever G-d does is for the good” would have remained a matter of blind faith. This can help us relate to the idea that what may seem to us as “blind faith” may actually be an obvious observable reality.

BRACHOS 60B

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HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO HARD TIMES AND CHALLENGES?

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ACT

CAN YOU SEE IN THE DARK? KEY CONCEPTS

• We should never give up or despair, even when we experience hard times; the knowledge that everything has a purpose and is for the good should empower us to get through the worst challenges.

INTRODUCTION

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Until now, our discussion has been primarily philosophical. In this section we will apply what we have learned to our lives. It is very important to try and make this as real and as personal as possible. It is one thing to understand hashgachah pratis on an intellectual level, but it is an entirely different matter to actually integrate it into our lives and allow it to affect the way we respond in real life situations.

TIP

Try to prod and get a real life example, as this will help students internalize and relate personally to the message. Of course, be sensitive to the students’ feelings and boundaries; don’t force a student to share if he or she isn’t comfortable.

Try to discuss examples of major challenges and also minor inconveniences, such as “My phone broke,” or “I missed the bus.” This will help students internalize that truly EVERYTHING, even the smallest things, has a purpose. This can completely revolutionize the way students perceive their routine lives.

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As mentioned earlier, the objective of this lesson is to provide a framework that could help students overcome greater challenges and setbacks in life, and also to provide perspective on how to cope with daily minor annoyances. Truly internalizing hashgachah pratis can dramatically change a person’s attitude in life; the recognition that everything that happens is carefully planned by Hashem fosters a feeling of positivity and confidence with one’s place in the world.

Do bad things ever seem to happen to you? Students are likely to answer that bad things do seem to happen.

Are there things in your life that seem negative in the moment but later turn out to be positive? Can you give an example? Listen for students’ answer.

Are there negative things in your life that you have not yet seen turn out to be positive? Students are likely to answer yes.


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FROM THE SAGES

Are they really positive? Yes

CONCLUSION

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The story of Yosef gives us a glimpse into what is really happening all the time. Everything is part of a master plan and is for a good purpose. Sometimes we are lucky enough to see the final resolution and sometimes we are not.

G-d of all the creations, master of all events, Who is extolled with many praises. He who conducts His world with kindness and His creations with compassion. Indeed G-d does not slumber nor sleep. SHABBAT PRAYER, NISHMAS KOL CHAI

Should we give up when we experience hard times and challenges? No

What perspective can help us have the courage to stand strong and weather the storm? Everything has a purpose, and everything is for the good.

CONCLUSION

The story of Yosef helps us stand strong even during the darkest moments of our lives. We can look beyond the dark times and understand that something larger is at work. Difficult times are but a test of our character and faith. We always remember that even the darkest night will always give way to a rising sun and a new day.

TIP You can underscore the gravity of this concept by pointing to the Halachah Box section, where we learn that one is obligated by Jewish law to bless G-d even when a loved one passes on. In fact, the very first words that a person utters upon receiving the news of the death of a loved one are, “Blessed is the righteous Judge.�

WHAT WILL YOU DO THE NEXT

TIME YOU FACE A CHALLENGE? LISTEN:

3:42

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HALACHAH BOX

A person is obliged to bless [G-d] also for the bad, with full intention and a willing soul, just as one blesses [Him] for the good, as it is said: “For kindness and justice, I will sing to You, I will praise G-d.” That is, for kindness, I will sing to You, and for justice, I will sing to You. For also evil to the servants of G-d, blessed be His name, is their happiness and to their favor, because they accept with love whatever G-d, blessed be His name, decrees upon them, with love and faith to Him, for everything is an atonement for their sins. Thus, by accepting this evil, one serves G-d, and that service brings the person joy.

Ibid. 59:4

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REVIEW

A person must bless G-d, blessed be His name, also for the bad [as well as for the good] as it is said: “And you shall love G-d, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” “With all your heart” means with both your inclinations, the good inclination and the evil inclination, [as explained, also when one is involved with worldly matters, “Know Him in all your ways”]; “with all your soul” means even if He takes your soul; “and with all your might”: with every measure which He measures out to you, whether it be a measure of kindness or a measure of suffering, one needs to thank Him.

If there come to a person several [different] tidings at one time, whether good or bad [tidings], one blessing is sufficient for them.

What does a person bless? Upon bad tidings, bless: “Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, the true judge.”

LESSON 5

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Ibid. 59:6

IE W

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:2

A person should always be accustomed to say: “Whatever G-d does is for the good.”

[If] one’s father died or a relative died, or even one who is not one’s relative, but who is an upright person, and even more so, a Torah sage, that one feels grief concerning the person [dying], one blesses “Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, the true judge.”

Upon [the death] of other people, for whom one does not feel grief, one says “Blessed is the true judge,” without [saying G-d’s] name or His Kingship....


TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE 7. Whatever happens has a purpose and is for the good.

2. The name of the favorite son was Yosef.

8. Sometimes we do not perceive it that way because we do not see the entire picture/ story.

IE W

1. Avraham’s grandson, Yaakov, had twelve sons.

3. His brothers hated him because they were jealous... 4. ...and they decided to sell him.

5. He was originally sold as a slave. Later, to make matters worse, he became a prisoner.

9. When we are faced with a challenge we should never give up.

10. We should understand that there is a purpose, and we should faithfully continue moving forward.

PR EV

6. Eventually he was appointed prime minister (viceroy), and he provided for his family.

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LESSON 5


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