Daf Yomi Yevamos 43
When the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, they informed their father Jacob that they had discovered his blood-soaked coat. Assuming the worst, Jacob descended into a state of mourning that endured throughout the twenty-two years of Joseph’s absence. Ordinarily, one mourns for a month or a year, and then the Almighty sends an incredible blessing called the healing of time. The problem in Jacob’s case, however, was that Joseph was still alive and so he did not merit G-d’s healing miracle, since there was no real loss to be healed of!
The Mishnah states: All women who were previously married must wait three months prior to remarry including both betrothal and consummation. Rabbi Yossi says all women may betroth immediately, except for a widow, due to her state of mourning.
Rabbi Hisda taught: If during the week of Tisha B’Av when one is forbidden to do laundry, one may still betroth, a widow during shloshim (the thirty-day mourning period) who is permitted to do laundry, shouldn’t she certainly be permitted to betroth?
Rabbi Ashi answers: Fresh mourning (for a loved one) is different to ancient mourning (for the Holy Temple). The latter, explains Rashi, is less severe and therefore not as strict.
When tragedy is fresh in our minds it is very painful. But with time, G-d sends healing to the deepest wounds of life. Despite the fact that the destruction of the First and Second Temples decimated our people, most of us need to make a real effort to focus on the mourning of Tisha B’Av. It’s just way too distant a memory. The death of a loved one, by contrast, is much more painful. But even then, the Almighty sends us the blessing of time to heal so that the pain is less severe after the shivah, then a little less severe after the shloshim, and then further again after the twelve months of mourning.
On a much lesser scale, the same is true of most challenges you face in life. What seems like a major issue today, with G-d’s help, will fade with time. Today it seems so big but if you would just allow yourself to project two years into the future, you would see that ‘this too shall pass.’
Maybe you’ve made a terrible business decision. Maybe you’re at odds with a loved one – a parent, child, sibling. Maybe you’ve had a fight with your boss or a colleague. In your current state of mind, you don’t know how you can go on. You feel like your world is caving in.
Now picture yourself two years down the road. Do you think you will still be upset about your current problems? Or will they somehow resolve themselves with the passage of time? If time will inevitably heal, then jump ahead and take solace in the fact that one day soon this will no longer be an issue. That’s how you assess whether a problem is really a problem or not. If it won’t be a problem in two years’ time, then stop fretting about it today.
One of the greatest blessings the Almighty has bestowed upon us is the healing blessing of time. Today your problems may seem insurmountable. But one day very soon they will seem like a distant memory. Project yourself into the future and your problems will feel much lighter and easier to deal with today!