In our Torah portion this week, Jacob and Joseph look back on their lives before they die. Each has overcome many of the obstacles which challenged them in their youth. Given the opportunity to lead, each has risen to the occasion. Given the opportunity to make amends, each has met these painful moments with courage and integrity. In the end, each has achieved a sense of inner peace and harmony, a stature of strength and wisdom, and a spotlight in the birth of our people.
Is this not something we all hope for as well? As we journey through life, each of us hopes to look back and see that where there was once conflict and strife, there is now resolution and peace; where there was once sorrow and pain, there is now contentment and healing; where there were once questions, fears and insecurities about decisions made, there is now a sense of confidence that even though not every decision was a good one each decision led to an opportunity for growth.
Whenever we take the time to reflect on our lives, we cannot help but ask:
What moments have inspired us?
Who are our heroes?
What events have led to change?
How many of the things we thought were failures in our lives, have become opportunities for learning?
Taking a spiritual inventory from time to time can help us assess our lives and our values. This week’s Torah portion invites us to consider the past through the lens of the legacies we hope to leave behind.