A Bisl Torah

Living with Pain

Can we really get over the pain?

When we feel betrayed, hurt, disappointed by someone else’s actions, how often are we able to forgive? And in which ways does the hurt dissipate?

Joseph learns that Jacob has died, and his brothers fear that Joseph’s resentment is bound to return. That reconciliation only occurs out of respect of their father; not because of Joseph’s forgiveness over his brothers’ attempted murder. The Midrash explains that their fear returns when after the burial of Jacob, the brothers watch Joseph return to the pit in which his brothers had thrown him. And when he stands at the edge of the pit, he recites the blessing, “Blessed are You God who performed a miracle for me in this place.” The brothers fear that in returning to the pit, the scene of the crime, Joseph’s anger and wound erupts, causing an opening for vindication and vengeance.

But I am wondering if Joseph’s return to the pit and recitation of the blessing opens not a wound, but a place in his heart. That because he stares at the physical place of his lowest point, he is able to remind himself that indeed, it is a miracle to be alive and it is a miracle to move forward. He lives with hurt, lives with anger, but grasps a future that includes a relationship with his brothers. The true miracle is choosing not to simmer with revenge.

Perhaps the hurt caused by family, friends and colleagues moves aside when we know we have greater things to accomplish; bigger moments to cherish and experience together. The hurt may still exist. But in facing our anguished moments head-on, we declare to ourselves: I am alive. It is a miracle to be here. And I won’t let someone else determine the worth of my existence.

Shabbat Shalom

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