This week we read Parshas Vayaishev. In Parshas Vayaishev we read one of the most tragic events in the bible Ė the selling of Joseph by his brothers. When Joseph is sold to a caravan of Arabs, the Torah tells us that these Arabs were carrying all sorts of pleasant smelling spices, bringing them to be sold in Egypt. The Sages explain to us that the Torah mentions what these Arabs were carrying to teach us a lesson; usually these dealers had merchandise that wasnít so pleasant in its fragrance. However, because Joseph was such a great Tzadik, Hashem made it that they had pleasantly smelling spices with them.
Rav Mordechai Pergaminsky, a great scholar who died shortly after World War II, asked an obvious question. Joseph had just narrowly escaped with his life. He was ripped away from his father by his own brothers. He was being taken to a foreign land as a slave, not knowing if he would ever see his family again. Did it really make a difference to him what the smells that surrounded him as he went to Egypt were?
He answered this question with a story. There was once a young boy that had to go for surgery. When he came to the hospital, he stayed with his parents in the waiting room. All of a sudden, it came time for him to be taken in to the operating room. He was separated from his parents, and surrounded by men and women dressed in hospital gowns. He began screaming and shouting, feeling all alone. All of a sudden, in the window of the door of the room, his mother appeared. She didnít say anything; she certainly couldnít do anything. But the reality of his mother smiling at him calmed him down, and he went into the surgery in peace.
The spices that smelled so pleasant were Hashem smiling at Joseph. As Joseph was being led afar, away from all familiar and friendly surroundings, Hashem gave him a strong dose of encouragement. He showed him that whatever the future may hold for him, there was always Someone looking at him and watching over him. This sign was a beautiful and uplifting message that gave Joseph immeasurable strength and inspiration.
This idea is meant to be a source of strength for each of us. When ever we go through what may be a rough day, a rough situation, or meet a rough person, we must remember; Hashem has no shortage of good smelling spices. Heís there, smiling at us, and watching over us. Whatever is going on, itís meant to be, and the best that could be!
Just sit back, and enjoy the aroma!!!