When the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch was a young boy and learned the first passuk of this week’s parshah, “And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt 17 years,” his teacher translated it according to the Baal HaTurim: that Yaakov Avinu lived his best years in Mitzraim.
When the Tzemach Tzedek returned from cheder, he asked his grandfather, the Baal HaTanya, “How is it possible that Yaakov lived his best years in in the land of corruption?!”
The Ball HaTanya answered, “In last week’s parshah, we learned that Yaakov Avinu sent Yehudah ahead to (also) establish yeshivos for the when the shevatim would arrive. When one learns Torah, they become close to Hashem. And then, even in Mitzraim can be “Vayechi,” the best years.”
Learning Torah puts us in a different reality, away from bills, jealousy, or competition. When we are engrossed in learning, we are transformed to a different place. Whether it be Talmud, Tanach, or a sefer Chassidus, Torah is the wellspring from which we have drawn living waters since the beginning of time.
This is also why the Lubavitcher Rebbe requested we learn areas of the Torah that discuss the coming of Mashiach. When we learn this area in Torah, we connect to that time, giving us a taste of a future reality.
Each week brings a more surprising story than the week prior, both in good and the opposite. Yet by connecting to the Torah, we’re connected to the Source of it all -including life itself- buffering us against these dramatic swings of fortune and mood.
Wishing you an inspiring and relaxing Shabbos,