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The Name of the Parsha

At first glance this Parsha seems to have a most, inappropriate name. Vayeishev means "settled," and yet in this Parsha we read of the most unsettling event in Ya'akov's life: the disappearance of Yosef. In fact, at the beginning of the Parsha, Rashi writes, "When Ya'akov sought to settle in tranquility, Yosef's anger [against his brothers] sprang upon him."

So how could a Parsha which speaks of Ya'akov's upheaval come to be known as "Ya'akov settled"? 

In truth, however, Ya'akov's request for peace and tranquility was eventually granted by God, as we find that in Ya'akov's last 17 years he lived a peaceful, comfortable life in Egypt. It is only that when Ya'akov sought peace, God wanted to give him a more sublime peace and tranquility than Ya'akov was yet worthy of. Therefore, God sent him the ordeal with Yosef, in order to challenge Ya'akov and thereby uplift him spiritually. to the level at which he would be deserving of the greater peace.

And that is why our entire Parsha is called Vayeishev - "settled" - for in this Parsha we read of the ordeals which God sent Ya'akov to elevate him spiritually to the point where he could live a totally harmonious life in this world, as well as in the next.

(Based on Likutei Sichos vol. 30, p. 176ff)


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