Our teenage years are said to be the best years of our lives, but every day can’t be perfect. We spend late nights studying impossible subjects, going through messy breakups, competing on varsity sports teams, waking up at the crack of dawn, and more. Somehow, we’re still expected to keep our heads up and hold our chins high. We have big goals; we want to win the competition, ace the test, become the class president, and make an impact. Our teenage years are actually all a balancing act, and we often lose sight of what is possible and what is simply unachievable. Sometimes we need to gain perspective because we are not perfect, and we can’t do everything all the time.
Joseph had a dream in Vayeshev. He actually had quite a few of them. He dreamt of the moon and stars bowing down to him. He dreamt that people praised him and loved him, but this was simply an escape from the unfortunate reality that he was hated by his brothers and questioned by his parents. Joseph fell into a balancing act, just like us teens, between who he dreamt of becoming and who he really was.
Sometimes, teens are like Joseph. We let our imaginations get the best of us and often lose sight of reality. When Joseph is in jail, he helps interpret the dreams of a butler and another prisoner because they are feeling overwhelmed and have no idea what they’re dreams mean. When we find ourselves in overwhelming situations, we must think like Joseph. We have to step back and analyze the situation to find perspective. Is staying awake all night to study really worth it if it will cause exhaustion all day tomorrow? Is a relationship really that important if it causes stress all the time? In challenging moments like these, where our dreams might lead us down an unproductive path, we must remember how Joseph saw the world. He didn’t mistake his dreams for reality. He knew that the moon and stars wouldn’t literally bow down to him, but instead, he understood them as metaphors and aspirations. Sometimes we learn more from deciding not to study the extra hour or persist in the relationship. Our teenage years can be the best of our lives, so long as we handle our stressful moments and refuse to lose perspective, even if it means taking a few steps back to move just one step forward.
GMR Shlichim, Kelly Fagel and Zack Cohen
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
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