In this week’s Parsha Yakov and Yosef are finally reunited, after 22 years apart. The Torah records their emotional embrace, telling us that “he fell on his neck and cried on his neck for a long time” (46:29). Who cried on whose neck? From this description, it appears like only one of them cried. Why would only one of them cry?
Rashi helps us out by explaining that Yosef cried while Yakov said Shema as a thank you to G-d for the joy he’s feeling. Rabbi Benzion Shafier explains that Yakov used the joy of seeing his son and of finally understanding G-d’s plans as an opportunity to thank G-d for His thoughtful orchestration of his and all our lives.
In life, it often takes a disruptive event to make us reach those “aha” moments, but what we do with those disruptions is up to us. While Yosef reveled in the emotion itself, Yakov was able to harness that joyful disruption and turn it into a meaningful, spiritual lesson, one that recognizes G-d’s direction in everything that happens, not just the outlier events. May we merit many joyful disruptions in our lives, coupled with personal growth.