Prior to Yaakovs journey down to Mitzrayim, the Torah relates; ‘Hashem said to Yaakov in visions of the night, and He said, “Yaakov, Yaakov!” and he said, “Here I am.” He said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid of going down to Mitzrayim, for there I will make you into a great nation. I will go down with you to Mitzrayim, and I will also bring you up, and Yosef will place his hand on your eyes.’ (42; 2-4)
Hashem was reassuring Yaakov that this was the right move to make and that he should not feel for a moment that he will be helpless. He was guaranteeing Yaakov that He will be there, by his side, at all times.
If you will notice, the last part of this pasuk needs some explaining. What seems to be meaning of ‘and Yosef will place his hand on your eyes’ and why is it placed at this particular place? It seems to have zero relevance to what the pasukim are talking about?
Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh says that Hashem was comforting Yaakov and telling him not to worry as he will see his son Yosef, before he dies.
However, this begs for a deeper explanation.
Meshech Chochma offers a fascinating answer.
What Hashem was telling Yaakov was that you are indeed going to go down to Mitzrayim and this will be the beginning of a long and hard galus. The next two hundred and ten years will be very difficult for you, your children and you grandchildren. But have no fear, because I am going down there with you and I will make sure to bring you up from there, eventually. He then explains the pasuk of ‘and Yosef will place his hand on your eyes’ as not to mean literally Yosef himself but rather, the story of Yosef. The entire saga of Yosef will place his hands on your eyes. Even if you don’t see that something will be good for you the story of Yosef will prove to you that the end result will be worth it. What you may see with your own eyes does not mean that you have not accomplished your goal. Don’t judge things as they appear to you right now, at face value. Understand that there is a master plan and Hashem is calling the shots.
Yaakov thought he had lost his beloved child. He assumed he had failed and that being he no longer had Yosef, he must have not accomplished fully what he should have. Hashem was telling him I made this all happen for a reason. The entire story of Yosef was orchestrated by me and let that serve as a reminder that I am the ultimate planner and all of this was done for your benefit. As hard as it was to bear, know that it was arranged meticulously.
R’ Moshe Chagiz, zt’l, offers an explanation as to why we cover our eyes and close them when saying krias shema. He says because the moment we accept Hashem as our king there will be times that will be difficult for us to comprehend and withstand. We therefore shut our eyes, as if we are throwing ourselves in full force and pushing aside what we may not enjoy, and are accepting Him and proclaiming Him our king.
Knowing that everything happens for a reason is probably the hardest thing for a person to believe. But it’s the stronger ones, and the real ma’aminim that get through these trials and tribulations by not looking at things at face value but by saying ‘although I may not appreciate it now but I know there was a reason why I find myself in this situation.’
May we all be zoche to strengthen our emunah in Hashem and to realize that we are merely puppets in the biggest play, called life.