Daf (Berachos 5) and Chumash (Vayechi) by Shlermie

Berachos 5 speaks extensively about afflictions: afflictions of love, afflictions that cannot be love, financial afflictions, afflictions involving children, etc.  This is a daf about pain, suffering, and our trying to understand this pain and suffering.  Similarly, Parshas Vayechi directly follows Parshas Vayigash without the usual Parsha break.  Rav Hirsch points out that Yaakov’s 17 years were his only quiet, tranquil years so we would expect there a break to further delineate this change.  A break in the parsha to show a break in Yaakov’s life.  But this is not the case.  Rav Hirsch explains that there is no break to teach us that these 17 years were an integral part of Yaakov’s life but for the Jewish nation, they were of lesser significance.  Yaakov’s troubled, depressed years, though difficult, were the years when Yaakov was tested and he earned the name Yisrael, he earned something eternal for his nation.  When we struggle with troubles, depression, and afflictions, though it doesn’t feel this way, we are actually productive times.

(For the record, currently, we are speaking from a helicopter about pain and suffering.  This subject is much deeper and much more heart-felt than we are currently speaking to.)

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