Kenneth Cohen

Dealing With Adversity

A friend of mine from LA, Gary Apfel, pointed out a very fascinating Rashi, related to Parshat Miketz.

Yakov Avinu had reluctantly agreed to send his youngest son, Binyamin, to Egypt, as requested by Yosef. He took the necessary steps needed, to appease the ruler of Egypt.

He sent a double amount of the money that was taken the first time, in the event prices had risen. They were to return the money that was mistakenly returned to them.

Additionally, he sent the choicest of the fruits of the land. They carried some balm, some honey, spices and gum, pistachio nuts and almonds.

Yakov then prayed that Hashem would have pity on them, when they stood before “the man.” He would, hopefully , release Shimon and Binyamin.

Rashi’s comment was that Yakov was showing that he did everything possible on a physical level, to be certain that the desired results would be achieved. The only missing ingredient, was prayer. This may have been the most important point of all.

The Torah was showing us how we are to handle crisis situations. We are to take the necessary practical steps to fix things in the best way that we know.

But we must never minimize the importance of prayer. This is more important than anything we can do. This is because, it is a confirmation that we realize that our success depends entirely on our dependence on Hashem. We are not supposed to rely on miracles, and we must do our part, but the success belongs to G-d. This is what we are witnessing with our brave soldiers. Never has the IDF gone into battle with so much prayer as they are today. The combination of prayer and defending will bring incredible results for Am Yisrael. We are following the example set by Yakov Avinu.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at