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IT'S ALL FOR THE BEST!And it was in the morning, that behold it was Leah. (Bereishis 29:25)
Adpated from Ohrnet (a publication of Yeshivah Ohr Somayach), 11 Kislev 5760, citing a story retold by R. Eliezer Shore. The king was unhappy with his prime minister. Every time there was a problem in the country, whether it was a hiccup or a major disaster, the prime minister would say, "It's all for the best." The king would cringe before the prime minister's irrepressible optimism and answer him with a scowl.
One day, however, things came to a head. It all happened when the king was out hunting. An ill-aimed sword stroke by one of his courtiers cut off the king's little finger. As the monarch howled in pain, the prime minister piped up, "It's all for the best." The king was livid. "Throw him in the dungeons!" ordered the king. "I can't stand his infernal cheerfulness one moment longer!"
The days passed, and the months too. The prime minister languished in jail for a year, and then for another one. It looked like he would end his days there, with nothing to console him except his irrepressible optimism.
One day, the king went out on another hunting party with his court. But unfortunately for them, they unsuspectingly chose an area that had recently been invaded by a dangerous tribe of pygmy cannibals. It was all over in a few seconds. A trap was sprung, and the entire hunting party was trussed up in a gigantic net that the pygmies had strung across the forest path. One by one they were extracted from the net and interned in the pygmy stockade. On the following morning they were all destined to be a five-star pygmy cannibal breakfast.
Day broke, and one by one the hapless courtiers were led to the kettle. The pygmies, of course, saved the greatest delicacy for dessert. Finally it was the king's turn, and his undersized captors led him from the stockade out into the unforgiving glare of the morning sun. They tied his legs together, and then started on his hands. Suddenly, however, one of the pygmies let out a squeal of alarm. The king had no pinkie!
Where his little finger was supposed to be, there was... nothing. Now, everyone knows that in the pygmy tradition only a perfect and whole human may be eaten. Someone who has even the slightest physical blemish is disqualified.
The pygmies unceremoniously sent the king back to his palace. He immediately rushed to the dungeon and ordered the release of the former prime minister. Recounting his miraculous escape, the king begged the prime minister's forgiveness. But all the prime minister would say was, "It's all for the best." The king looked at him in amazement, and said, "I have taken away two years of your life - how can you say it's all for the best?"
"If I hadn't been in prison," replied the prime minister, "I'd have been out hunting with you!"
When Rachel saw her sister Leah standing under the wedding canopy with Ya'akov, her intended husband, she must have felt as though her life were coming to an end. And yet she was silent. She must have thought that Ya'akov would never marry her, after her betrayal of his confidence. He would probably resign himself to marriage with Leah and accept it as Divine Providence. Besides, it was highly unlikely that Ya'akov would marry two sisters. Yet she remained silent.
But Ya'akov did marry her. And they had two children, Yosef and Binyamin. Every stone in the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol represented one of the tribes of Israel. The stone of Binyamin was called "yashfeh." The same Hebrew letters also spell "yeish peh," "there is a mouth," a mouth closed in silence.
Esther was also from the tribe of Binyamin. She saved the Jewish People by being silent. By not revealing her Jewishness to King Achashverosh, she was able to thwart Haman's genocidal plans.
Esther's power of silence didn't materialize from a vacuum. It came from Rachel. When Rachel silently watched her sister get married, she implanted a power into her offspring - which would eventually save the entire Jewish People.
"It's all for the best!"
Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
Yeshiva Gedolah Medrash Chaim
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop ? Lakewood). You can access Rav Parkoff's Chizuk Sheets online:
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