“Hashem said to Moses: Stretch out your hand and grasp its tail.” ~ Shemos 4:4
God needed to convince Moses He meant business about taking the Jews out of Egypt, so he gave him the sign of the staff which becomes a snake. To convert it back into a staff, God tells Moses to grab the snake by the tail.
Why? Isn’t that the most dangerous place?
The human condition is to revert to the safest option. Risk is precarious so most people settle for complacency.
Achieving beyond your ‘possible’ demands effort in your ‘impossible’.
“And Jacob was told: ‘Behold, your son Joseph has come to you.’ So Israel strengthened himself and sat upon the bed.”
~ Genesis 48:2
Mortally ill, Jacob summons Joseph to his deathbed. When he’s told Joseph’s arrived, Jacob incredibly finds the strength to sit up.
Why? Surely he should save his precious strength?
Since Joseph was King of Egypt, Jacob wanted to do the right thing and accord the honor royalty deserved.
This mitzvah gave Jacob a new sense of purpose in his final moments and awarded him an additional burst of life-force.
More than making life more meaningful, a mission adds more life.
“Joseph went up to meet his father Israel, he fell on his neck and wept excessively.”
~ Genesis 46:29
Can you imagine being reunited with family you’d thought dead for 22 years?
Joseph’s response is fitting. Jacob’s, however, is sorely lacking. Why didn’t he cry?
The Rabbis say he was busy saying the Shemah.
Shemah is an essential prayer, but surely in that moment it was a detachment from reality!
On the contrary, God’s not a superhero we only call out to in emergencies. God’s a life-partner, so the relationship should span every emotion, especially times of great joy.
“I will guarantee him; of my own hand you can demand him.”
~ Genesis 37:25
Still mourning the loss of Joseph, Jacob was reluctant to also lose Benjamin, his only remaining child from Rachel. Consequently, he refuses to allow his other sons to take Benjamin to Egypt.
Both Reuben and Judah try to convince their father, yet Jacob concedes only to Judah. Why?
Reuben offered his own sons as collateral if he failed to return Benjamin. Judah, however, took personal responsibility and offered himself.
Dependability and accountability are synonymous because responsibility is – by definition – personal.
“A caravan of Ishmaelites was coming – their camels bearing spices, balsam and lotus – on their way down to Egypt.”
~ Genesis 37:25
Joseph’s brothers sold him to Arabs who took him down to Egypt in their caravan of camels.
How he got there is important, but what’s the relevance of their cargo?
The main commodity of Arabs merchants has always been fuels – which stink. However, it ‘just so happened’ that this caravan’s load was sweet-smelling spices.
Difficult times are part of life but they are not random. Keep your eyes – and nose – open for the sweet signs of meaning along the way.