“It’s really not pleasant but why do you need to carry this heavy and unwieldy luggage around with you? Don’t you know that when you’re angry at someone you give him permanent residence in your mind? Don’t you think it’s time to let go and forgive them?”
“Forgive them? I can’t even look them in the face! I can’t do it!”
These are illustrations of people who give up too easily on having a relationship with those dearest to them. They march to the beat of the evil inclination right into the quicksand of foolish fighting and the need to be right.
In our Parsha, Vayigash we see a prime example of someone who broke his inclination with hard work developing his character. This was Yosef who was sold by his brothers and because of it suffered immensely until G-d made him Viceroy of Egypt. Sitting on a throne the moment of truth comes when he meets his brothers who altered his life beyond recognition. What does Yosef do? “And Yosef couldn’t control himself… and no one stood with him when Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, and he cried.”
In these critical moments Yosef could have easily fallen into the abyss of pride and vengeance. Would you blame him? He could have rightfully let them have it for what they did to him. But Yosef doesn’t forget G-d though he could have naturally been swept up with his feelings. He remembered that in spite the great hardship they caused him, his brothers were only G-d’s messengers to make him carry out a specific mission. He was able to fulfill the dictum: “Who is strong, he who conquers his evil inclination.” Because he did this he merited honor and authority.
We can say: “Well what do you want? This is Yosef the righteous one, but I’m not on that level!” but we should remember that Yosef wasn’t born a ‘tzaddik’ (righteous) but worked all his life, day after day and minute after minute to reach the heights he did. If Yosef did it we also can. We can turn over a new leaf and overcome our evil inclination. We can attain the peace and happiness we hope for.