In this week’s portion, Jacob asks for peace and relaxation but G-d had another plan.
“Jacob settled (down) in the land of his father’s dwellings, in the Land of Caanan.” — Genesis 37:2
The foremost commentator, Rashi, explains: Jacob wanted to settle down in tranquility but then the ordeal of his son Joseph (sale into slavery) fell upon him. The righteous seek to dwell in tranquility but G-d says ‘Is it not enough for the righteous what has been prepared for them (reward) in the World to Come that they need to seek tranquility also in this world!'”
Some people turn to G-d and religion, hoping to find refuge from all the turbulence of life, from doubt, from inner conflicts and mental turmoil. They want instant inner peace, spiritual contentment, and tranquility for their troubled souls.
According to Kabbalah, that is not the purpose of life on earth. In fact, it is just the opposite. We have been dropped right in the middle of the stormy seas of daily living. We are confronted with the problems from within and without. And we are commanded to fix them and ourselves. The theme of life is precisely about embracing the difficulties of life and rising to the challenges.
The very first verse of the Book of Genesis tells us: “In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth, and earth was in a state of chaos.” This sounds like G-d did a pretty crummy job. The minute He creates the world, it’s already in a state of chaos.
But the truth is that G-d did a perfect job. What’s perfect about this world is the chaos! It’s the perfect place for growth. It’s the perfect place for challenge. It’s the perfect setting for triumph. It is the perfect stage for an exciting drama about personal transformation.
This world is meant to be difficult, and your life on earth is meant to be a struggle, filled with adventure, challenge, and victory. This is your divine mission if you are willing to accept it. And if you accept it, you will have the power to succeed.