In this week’s Torah portion, we read about Joseph revealing his identity to his brothers and urging them to bring his father Jacob and their families to live close to him in Egypt and he will take care of all of their needs. Joseph repeatedly tells them that he has no harsh feelings to them for selling him into slavery to Egypt, since he realizes that it was part of a divine plan that he become viceroy and the ruler of Egypt. The Zohar states that Joseph is the prototype for all to learn true forgiveness.
In our lives it is not uncommon for us to be hurt by people that we had a relationship with and trusted. We are naturally inclined to hold onto a grudge, since we feel that by doing so we are somehow getting back at the person who hurt us. We often fail to realize that we are also equally hurting ourselves, since we are draining and polluting our energies with the poison of hatred.
But how can we truly forgive when human nature is to resent the pain that was inflicted upon us? The answer is that just as Joseph saw the pain inflicted upon him by his brothers as part of a greater plan that was for his benefit, so too, the Torah teaches us that whenever someone inflicts pain upon us it is part of a great plan that will be to our benefit. Perhaps the pain is necessary for a sort of cleansing that will open up new potential for good in your life, or perhaps later on in your life you will see something very positive come about as a result of your experience. So the next time you experience a grudge of some sort, picture in your mind that as a result of your pain you will be getting something very great and it will be much easier to forgive.