Blessing 13-Vayigash- Jacob’s and Joseph’s Trust: Part Two
There is a Midrash that says that every blessing in the Shemoneh Esreh corresponds to a story in the Torah. The story that goes with V’al HaTzadikim is the story of Joseph. The Midrash says that when Jacob was about to go down to Egypt, he was scared. God said: “Don’t be scared,
Joseph will cover your eyes and protect you.” That is when the angels said the blessing of “V’al HaTzadikim”, that God is the mainstay of assurances for the righteous.
We have examined this Midrash from Jacob’s perspective in Part One. There is another view when approaching this blessing. When the angels were reciting “V’al HaTzadikim”, they were not declaring it about Jacob, but about Joseph. Joseph is called a Tzadik. The Tzadik is the foundation of the world. Joseph is the one who brought sustenance to the world. In other words, the world is fed, or is sustained, by the merit of the righteous.
Joseph’s response to his situation differs greatly from that of Jacob’s. Jacob was almost passive, Joseph was not. Joseph had to find the right balance between when to be passive and when to be active, when to take responsibility and take charge. It is a hard task. To what degree am I supposed to invest effort, and to what degree am I supposed to place my trust in God?
Joseph sees that his father has come down to Egypt and that the family is now complete. When you put in all the effort, all the time, when you take risks, make choices, decisions, and it works out right, then you have literally been a partner with God. Your choices have made you an active partner. This leads to a much greater feeling. It is not like being passive and letting God take the responsibility. To be a Joseph is to know that I am going to make decisions, and risk being wrong. Who knows what the implications will be? But I will take responsibility. Then, the payoff for trust is much more powerful. It means that God trusts me. That God entrusted me with certain skills, with the aptitude to make those choices.
So when we say that God is the mainstay, it means that God gives us the ability to trust in ourselves. Assurance is when I am able to realize that my active choices finally paid off. That is why Joseph is the one who makes the promise to the Jewish people that they will be redeemed. And it is his promise that keeps the Jews going during the years of slavery.
Therefore, don’t say: “We won’t be deserving of redemption. Maybe God will forget about us because we won’t maintain a relationship with Him.” God trusts in you. That’s the real Bitachon.
This blessing is about a higher level of trust. When I sincerely believe that God has trust in me, and gave me the ability, when He created and formed me, to make decisions and take responsibility.