I read a comment of Rashi on this week’s parshah that I have difficulty with.
After all of the traumatic episodes in Yaakov’s life, he finally wanted to settle down. Rashi says that wasn’t meant to be. The Yosef ordeal was bound to spring up on him.
Hashem asks rhetorically, “The world to come is not enough for the righteous, they want this world too?”
One of my favorite lines from Steven Write is, “you can’t have everything – where would you put it?”
It seems like Rashi is saying that the righteous are not entitled to enjoy this world. This is not the first reference to this concept.
There are at least two stories in the Talmud that I can think of where a particular righteous person is also very poor. In both stories they come upon money, but they have dreams that night where they come to the realization that a tranquil experience in this world takes away something from their experience in the next. In the morning they give away the money so that they can have the full reward.
This certainly fits with the concept that I wrote about last week. Esav mortgages the later to experience the now, whereas Yaakov sacrifices today for reward tomorrow.
I can understand that. But why MUST the righteous suffer? Are people who don’t suffer less righteous than people who do?
The Mishnah in Avot says, “according to the suffering is the reward.” People who overcome traumatic experiences develop in a way that those who live tranquil lives do not.
The Greatest Generation didn’t come out of the 60s 70s or 80s. They came out of the Great Depression and World War II.
My difficulty stems from the honest admission that if I had to choose between the two, I would choose the tranquil life of mediocrity rather than the life of hardship and potential greatness.
I think that this comment of Rashi is saying that Yaakov too would have made that choice.