Kenneth Cohen

Dealing With Adversity

The Baal Haturim has an interesting comment regarding the first Pasuk of Parshat Vayeshev. He claims that there is a significant message just from the words, וישב יעקב, “And Yakov sat.”

The Torah is hinting that Yakov sat, just as he did before going through the ordeal of Lavan and Eisav. Despite the difficulties that he had to endure, it did not change him. He did not become a bitter person, who may have felt that he was treated unfairly.

Similarly we find a description of Yosef. We are told that “Yosef was in Egypt.” It was pretty obvious that he was in Egypt. Rashi says that both his troubled years, and years of being second to the king, did not change. He was the same simple and modest Yosef.

We learn from the lives of Yakov and Yosef, how to handle adversity and success. We must not let life’s challenges defeat us. We all go through major disappointments in life. We must stay focused and remain positive and upbeat. We must trust that G-d has a plan for us, and everything happens for a reason.

Yakov and Yosef were faced with monumental difficulties in their lives. They had the courage to humbly accept their fate and trust in G-d. We must learn to do the same.

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