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    God be with you – Vayyeshev

    Joseph had a hard time. Despite his father’s love, one thing after another went wrong in his life. He deserved some nachas, but hardly ever did it eventuate.

    Yet the Torah is adamant that by heavenly standards he did quite well. How else do we understand the verse, “And the Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:21)?

    God’s presence, protection and providence accompanied Joseph despite the vicissitudes of his life.

    That the Lord was with him is seen not only from the verse we have quoted but from the fact that sometimes his name is spelled “Yehosef”, i.e. “Joseph” with the addition of the heh from the Divine name (e.g. Psalm 81:5).

    Quite literally, God was with Joseph and part of his being, as was the case with Abraham and Sarah, who also bore the heh of God’s name.

    For us, of course, the same privilege is possible, of making God part of our being. If we have a Hebrew name that incorporates a Divine name or title, so much the better. But every human being can show that God is with them by living according to the Divine commandments.

    Of Joseph it is said that d’mut d’yukno shel aviv – seeing his father in his mind’s eye – prevented him from sinning with Potiphar’s wife.

    In every generation, the thought of God, our Divine father, is what keeps us from going astray: that’s how we know and show that the Lord is with us.

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