> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Parsha Point

Turning the Land of Pain Into the Garden of Eden

Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

The choice is yours.

The Book of Genesis begins with the placement of Adam, the first man, into the Garden of Eden (literally, the Garden of Pleasure). He had every blessing and opportunity in front of him, yet he succumbed to his illusions and imagination and ended up losing so much. The same book now ends with the death of Joseph in Mitzrayim, the land of Egypt (literally, the land of pain). Joseph had so many more reasons to be angry at God and his family than any of us can possibly imagine, yet he managed to rise above all his challenges and ended up living in the "Garden of Eden," even while in Egypt.

One of the principles Joseph lived by was that he was grateful for every blessing and favor ever granted to him to such an extent that he saw only beauty around him. He always tried to see the good in people and bent over backwards to try to judge others favorably, even those who harmed him (Genesis 50:20).

Someone with an attitude like that, who can focus on the positive and not on what he lacks, will find himself living in the Garden of Eden even when things don't work out the way he wants. Joseph lived a life of pleasure because he never lost sight of the fact that everything he had was a gift from the Almighty.

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