Why Is It So Hard?
One of the hardest things that human beings are called upon to wrestle with is: Forgiveness. In Parshat Vayigash we have one of the finest models of it in how Yosef/ Joseph deals with his brothers.
Here Yosef/Joseph is-- Paro's (Pharoah's) right-hand man. There they, his brothers, are --mere foreign supplicants for food during a time of famine. Because of them, Yosef/ Joseph has endured tests and trials, including years in prison, and now he has absolute power over them.
What would you do if you had absolute power over your nemesis?
Wouldn’t most people feel that all their fantasies of revenge could finally come true...?
The Jewish tradition calls Yosef/ Joseph-- Yosef HaTzaddik/The Saintly Yosef, because he resists the sexual advances of Potiphar's wife. But to my mind, his incredible piety is revealed even more clearly when he confronts his brothers.
Here we see a Yosef/ Joseph with a vantage point so elevated, he's barely living with the rest of us on earth. He says to the men who sold him into slavery: "Don't be troubled...because you sold me here, for it was to save lives that G!D sent me ahead of you...to assure your survival in the land and to keep you alive for a great deliverance."
In hindsight, Yosef has realized that all of his suffering in life had a purpose, contributing to who he has become and his ultimate purpose in the world. WOW! As Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote: 'He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how.'
When you look back on your suffering, are you able to find any purpose in it, as Yosef did?
Can you find anything that contributes positively to your sense of self now or that you learned from it that led you forward? And if not, can you forgive yourself for whatever you did that contributed to your own suffering?
Maybe we can't rise to Yosef's level of saintliness, but perhaps in the trying, we can achieve some measure of enlightenment and tranquility of the soul.