רַב אַחָא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַצַּדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים בְּשַׁלְוָה וּמְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַשָֹּׂטָן בָּא וּמְקַטְרֵג, אָמַר, לֹא דַיָין שֶׁהוּא מְתֻקָּן לָהֶם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֶלָּא שֶׁהֵם מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. תֵּדַע לָךְ שֶׁהוּא כֵּן, יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ עַל יְדֵי שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה נִזְדַּוֵּוג לוֹ שִׂטְנוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף. וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב (איוב ג, כו): לֹא שָׁלַוְתִּי וְלֹא שָׁקַטְתִּי, לֹא שָׁלַוְתִּי מֵעֵשָׂו, וְלֹא שָׁקַטְתִּי מִלָּבָן, וְלֹא נָחְתִּי מִדִּינָה, וַיָּבֹא רֹגֶז, בָּא עָלַי רָגְזוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף.
Midrash on Desire for Tranquility
Rav Acha said: When the righteous sit in tranquillity and desire to sit in tranquillity in this world, the Satan acts as accuser. He exclaims “Is that which is set for (the righteous) in the World to Come not enough that they seek serenity in this world?” This is certainly the case – Yaakov Avinu sought to dwell in serenity in this world and the “Satan” of Yoseph attached himself to Yaakov – “And Yaakov dwelt … etc.”(Gen 37:1)
“I had no repose, no quiet, no rest, and trouble came.” (Job 3:26)
I had no repose – from Esav,
No quiet – from Lavan,
No rest - from Dinah,
And trouble (lit. anger) came – the trouble of Joseph. Genesis Rabbah 84:3
Elie Weisel on the Dangers of Reassurance (Settling in your mind on answers)
"When will you understand that a beautiful answer is nothing? Nothing more than illusion! Man [sic] defines himself by what disturbs him and not by what reassures him.
When will you understand that you are living and searching in error, because God means movement and not explanation."
[The Wandering Jew. Elie Wiesel. Legends of Our Time pg.126]
Kedushat Levi on Chanukah: Upending Habituation
This is why the mitzvah is to be performed “between sunset and the time when feet [regel] disappear from the marketplace.” The setting sun refers to the hidden miracles, those that are not so easily seen. “Until the regel disappears from the marketplace” – you have to contemplate the Hanukkah candles until you overcome your sense that the world is conducted by the ordinary [hergel] force of nature . . . When you kindle Hanukkah lights, this thought disappears from you, and you no longer see the world as ordinary . . .
In this way you come to the faith that the hidden miracle is not merely natural, but that God is constantly re-creating the world, in every hour and moment. Sometimes God re-creates the natural order set into motion in the six days of Creation, and sometimes God changes something, like a revealed miracle. But once you accept that there are hidden miracles, you realize that all is constantly being re-created, even the established natural order .
Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev (1740–1809), also known as the holy Berdichever, and the Kedushat Levi. He was a Hasidic master and Jewish leader. (At Romemu he is best known as Evelyn Goodman's ancestor).
Jacob and Joseph: Parallel Lives
Louis Ginsberg, Legends of the Jews. 2:1
Among the sons of Jacob Joseph was the one that resembled his father most closely in appearance, and, also, he was the one to whom Jacob transmitted the instruction and knowledge he had received from his teachers Shem and Eber. The whole course of the son's life is but a repetition of the father's. As the mother of Jacob remained childless for a long time after her marriage, so also the mother of Joseph. As Rebekah had undergone severe suffering in giving birth to Jacob, so Rachel in giving birth to Joseph. As Jacob's mother bore two sons, so also Joseph's mother. Like Jacob, Joseph was born circumcised. As the father was a shepherd, so the son. As the father served for the sake of a woman, so the son served under a woman. Like the father, the son appropriated his older brother's birthright. The father was hated by his brother, and the son was hated by his brethren. The father was the favorite son as compared with his brother, so was the son as compared with his brethren. Both the father and the son lived in the land of the stranger. The father became a servant to a master, also the son. The master whom the father served was blessed by God, so was the master whom the son served. The father and the son were both accompanied by angels, and both married their wives outside of the Holy Land. The father and the son were both blessed with wealth. Great things were announced to the father in a dream, so also to the son. As the father went to Egypt and put an end to famine, so the son. As the father exacted the promise from his sons to bury him in the Holy Land, so also the son. The father died in Egypt, there died also the son. The body of the father was embalmed, also the body of the son. As the father's remains were carried to the Holy Land for interment, so also the remains of the son. Jacob the father provided for the sustenance of his son Joseph during a period of seventeen years, so Joseph the son provided for his father Jacob during a period of seventeen years.
The Experience of the Pit
Dara Horn, A Guide for the Perplexed
“The sides of the pit rose up around her, merciless surfaces of mud and stone. For a long moment, oxygen fled her brain, returning in a dizzying rush that flung her to the ground. She lay on her back, looking up at the sky, feeling the frantic rise and fall of her chest” (36).
The Light that Sustains us in the Pit
Tree of Souls Mythology of Judaism
.....Jacob .....gave the stone to his beloved son, Joseph, when he gave him the coat of many colors. Jacob made Joseph promise to wear the stone all the time, but he did not reveal its power which he knew well. And because his brothers did not know the amulet was precious they did not take it from him when they stripped him of the coat of many colors and cast him naked into the dark pit.
Now snakes and scorpions lived at the bottom of the pit. And when Joseph heard them slithering and creeping in the dry leaves, he shivered in the darkness at the bottom of the pit. All at once a light began to glow and Joseph saw that it was coming from the amulet he wore around his neck. And as long as Joseph was in the pit, the amulet continued to glow and so that he was never afraid. At last Joseph heard Midianite traders call out to him from the top of that pit. They pulled him out of pit and brought him to Egypt where they sold him into slavery, and to the destiny that fate held for him, which was to become prince of Egypt.
When Joseph was imprisoned in the dungeon, he discovered that if he placed his tsohar in his cup and peered into it, he could read the future and interpret dreams. That is how he interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, and later the dreams of Pharaoh that prophesied the seven years of famine.
That cup, with the precious jewel in it, was placed inside Joseph's coffin at the time of his death, and remained there until Moses recovered Joseph's coffin and was told in a dream to take the jewel out and hang it in the Tabernacle, where it became known as the Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light. And that is why, even to this day, an Eternal Light burns above every ark of the Torah in every synagogue. (p.86)