A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas VaYeishev. Yosef HaTzaddik gets sold into slavery by his brothers and various other interesting episodes happen, including that of Eishes Potifera, wherein the wife of his master tries to get him to perform an aveira with her.
There is an interesting Midrash that we can learn from in regards to this. It says a few times in this parsha that Yosef HaTzaddik was “Ish Matzliach,” that he was a successful man. The Midrash states that Yosef was a גבר קפוז. What this means depends on who you look at, the Etz Yosef explains that the word קפוז refers to jumping and dancing, which serves to teach us how Yosef HaTzaddik was conquering his yetzer hara through “jumping away” and avoiding looking at his master’s wife. The Matnos Kehuna explains that this refers to Yosef being filled with simcha and doing things in this sort of way, which a touch of a dance or “spring in his step.”
What we can learn from this is something quite practical in avodas Hashem. Looking at this through the Etz Yosef and Matnos Kehuna, using the Matnos Kehuna as an explanation of the Etz Yosef, we can see that the true way to conquer the yetzer hara is through simcha, through keeping happy and dancing or jumping in our avodas Hashem. Looking at the word מצליח as relevant to the word הצלחה (success), which is the plain p’shat, we can learn through the Matnos Kehuna that the key to success in all things; whether avodas Hashem or physical success, is through joy. By maintaining a state of happiness even in difficult situations, Hashem will come to help us, like the posuk we say every day in Pesukei D’Zimra that joy and might are in Hashem’s place, which is effectively the entirety of Creation, so through joy are we placed immediately before Hashem. This is also related to the secrets of attaining Nevuah and Ruach HaKodesh.