Friday, November 19, 2010

Benyomin, the Son of Suffering/Kindness

In this week's parsha (Bereishis 35:17), Rochel is having a very difficult time with the birth, and is about to die, and her midwife comforts her by saying, "Don't be afraid. You are having another son."

Perhaps this means that when we go through things that are hard, which can cause worry and fear, that we should not be afraid. On the contrary, we should not worry because even if we suffer in the process, it is all good because some great result is going to come from the process.

Rochel took this teaching to heart too, because in the next pasuk (35:18), Rochel named the son Ben Oni, child of my suffering. Contrary to the common view that Rochel's choice of name was a mournful or self-pitying name, to show others that a great result like this child is the product of suffering, so they should not be afraid either.

But Yaakov names him "Benyomin" instead, to teach that there is an even higher level of consciousness. Benyomin means "son of the right side," which relates to chesed, kindness. He wanted to show that the suffering necessarily produces so much good, so it cannot really be called suffering, oni. Rather, it should be looked at as all chesed, kindness. The suffering itself should be perceived for its true essence, which is kindness rather than as pain.

Benyomin's life essence\name therefore represented the fact that suffering is actually a favor to us and that the ultimate result of the whole process is immeasurably great.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess that vort speaks to you, heh?

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Every d'var Torah I write speaks to me. Otherwise, I wouldn't write it!

:-)

Jo R. said...

Reb Dixie- great vort, and it seems like Yakov may have been pogem in that idea when he expresses his feeling of hardship to paroh in mitzrayim, but we see he is mtakan again when he flips his hands by the brachos showing the right and left are interchangeable and in essence one and the same..

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Jo, great thought! And it was great seeing you in Central Perk.

You should go under the chupah b'sha'ah tova umutzlachas!

Debby Bruck said...

Very deep thoughts here.