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    The Midrash
    (cited by Rashi
    to Bereshit
    37:3) tells us
    that before Yosef was sold as
    a slave by his
    brothers at the age of 17, he learned
    Torah from his father, Yaakob. Specifically, the Midrash writes, Yaakob transmitted to Yosef all the Torah he had
    learned during the years he spent in the
    yeshivah of Shem and Eber.
    The work Bet Aharon raises the question of why Yaakob transmitted to Yosef specifically the Torah knowledge
    which he received from Shem and Eber.
    After all, Yaakob Aninu learned Torah
    for many years at home before going
    to learn with Shem and Eber. In fact,
    the Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1806) writes that Abraham
    Abinu was still alive when Yaakob was
    born, and until Abraham’s death when
    Yaakob was 15, the three patriarchs –
    Abraham, Yishak and Yaakob – learned
    Torah together each and every day.
    Yaakob thus received Torah not only
    from Shem and Eber, but also from his
    father and grandfather. Why, then, does
    the Midrash teach that Yaakob transmitted to Yosef specifically the Torah
    he received at the academy of Shem
    and Eber?
    The Bet Aharon answers that Yaakob foresaw the suffering and hardship that Yosef would endure, and so
    he prepared him during his youth by
    teaching him specifically the Torah of
    Shem and Eber. Shem lived during the
    Flood, witnessing the destruction of
    the entire earth, and Eber lived during
    Dor Ha’palaga – the generation that
    built the Tower and was then dispersed
    throughout the world. Both Shem and
    Eber witnessed great upheavals and
    tragedies, but they retained their faith.
    Their spirits were not broken, and they
    devoted themselves to Hashem and to
    Torah even after experiencing cataclysmic events.
    This is the Torah that Yaakob made a
    point of transmitting to Yosef, knowing
    that Yosef would need this level of faith
    to get through the difficult period he
    would be forced to suffer.
    Sure enough, Yosef went through his
    ordeal with his faith fully intact. After
    his prophetic dreams which foretold his
    leadership over his family, everything
    seemed to be headed in the opposite
    direction. His brothers despised him,
    and they later sold him as a slave to a
    foreign country. There could be nothing
    further from royalty than being a slave
    in Egypt. And then, Yosef was thrown
    into an Egyptian prison for a crime
    he never committed. At that moment,
    when Yosef was sent to jail, it seemed
    all but impossible that Yosef’s prophecy of leadership could ever be fulfilled.
    There did not appear to be any reason to
    imagine that he would ever be released,
    let alone become a ruler. And yet, Yosef
    retained his faith.
    The Bet Aharon notes that after the Torah tells us of Yosef’s master throwing
    him into prison, the Torah then emphasizes, “Va’yehi Sham Be’bet Ha’sohar”
    – “he was there in the prison” (39:20).
    This phrase, at first glance, seems redundant. Once we’ve been told that
    Yosef’s master threw him into the dungeon, we quite obviously know that Yosef was there in the dungeon. The Bet
    Aharon explains this to mean that once
    Yosef was placed in the prison, he was
    there willingly. He did not complain or
    feel embittered by his situation. Armed
    with the lessons of faith taught by
    Shem and Eber, which Yosef received
    from his father, he accepted his position
    as the will of Hashem, and fully trusted
    that everything would ultimately turn
    out for the best – which, as we know,
    it did.
    The story of Yosef teaches us the vitally
    important lesson of Hashgaha (Providence), reminding us that no matter
    how difficult it sometimes is to view
    our situation from a positive angle, we
    must firmly trust that everything that
    happens is for the best. When we live
    with this level of faith, then we, like
    Yosef, will not be broken by adversity,
    and will instead accept every condition
    we find ourselves in, and will always be
    happy, upbeat and confident, regardless
    of the situation.