Parshat Vayiggash, "Everything for a Reason" - Joseph's journey has been a very difficult one, with a great deal of suffering for him and many others. Finally, in this week, Jacob and all his family come to Egypt, thus fulfilling God's words to Abraham, "Know that your offspring will be strangers in a foreign land." (Gen. 15:13)
If God's plan was to get everyone down to Egypt anyway, why go through all the challenges and suffering?This question was asked by Rabbi K
in his Esh Kodsh, "Holy Fire" a collection of commentary on the Torah he wrote while in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.
He says,nothing can ever be revealed if it does not entail replacing something which already exists.
Or it could be said, improving oneself or anything else means replacing or changing the level you were at to begin with. Sometimes, this may involve great difficulty. Esh Kodesh gives several examples including: giving birth, the creation of the world, and the giving of the Torah, which he adds to the story of Joseph.
This answer should not be confused with the simple notion, "everything happens for a reason." It is not only saying that. It speaks to those times when we can see, after our challenges and difficulties, that the changed circumstances in which we find ourselves can also contain something valuable. If we remain imprisoned by grievances and regrets for what is no more, we cannot, like Joseph, achieve God's plan. It is only, Esh Kodesh is telling us, when, we are able to see there is still meaning in our lives after even difficult changes, that we can really say what has happened has happened for a reason. Like the Esh Kodesh, like Joseph, this is not something another person can decide for you, you must learn it for yourself.