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"And now - It was not you who sent me here, but Hashem; He has made me father to Par'o, master of his entire household, and ruler throughout the entire land of Egypt" (Bereishis 45:8).

Yosef recognized that the entire sequence of events that led up to this phenomenal moment was all a product of Hashem's Hashgacha Peratis (Divine Providence), and not a result of his brothers' decision to sell him. By selling him, the brothers had intended to rid themselves once and for all from Yosef and his farfetched dreams. But, in reality, their actions were actually the very impetus for the fulfillment of those dreams. The hand of Hashem was clearly responsible for all that had transpired.

Rav Volbe zt"l comments that many people are confused as to what exactly bechirah (free will) is. Do people have free will, and Heaven lets things play out in accordance with their actions; or is everything preordained from Heaven, and, therefore, it doesn't make a difference what a person chooses? He explains that the answer can be found in the Chovos Ha'levavos (Avodas Elokim Chapter 8). There, the author writes that in reality both sides of the coin are true. Everything is up to our bechirah, and, at the same time, it is preordained by Hashem. In other words, we must make decisions as if we were the sole ones affecting the outcome of our actions. However, in the final analysis, Hashem will arrange things the way He deems fit.

For example, when a boy of marriageable age starts dating, he has no idea which girl Hashem has in mind for him. Nevertheless, this lack of knowledge should not at all affect his decision. As with all decisions, he must analyze the topic at hand from all sides, consult with knowledgeable individuals, and come to a sensible conclusion. At the end of the day, Hashem might just make things turn out differently than expected, but that does not exempt us from our obligation to act rationally.

We can't know what Hashem wants, but He gave us the intelligence to try to figure out what is best for us. Even if things turn out differently, we can be sure that that is what Hashem wants. And, consequently; it is what is truly best for us.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel