Rashi says that Yaakov asked to live in tranquility now that he was finally back in the Holy Land, but the raw emotions of the Joseph story engulfed him. But did he really ask that of G-d?

Steven Genack

Judaism Cows in Jezreel Valley
Cows in Jezreel Valley

Is it really possible that Yaakov asked of G-d do dwell in tranquility, in the true sense of the word? That would seem quite impossible, for if you look at his life, within the paradigm of toiling in Torah, he didn't sleep for 14 years while learning, and within the arena of work he gave over his heart and soul to work honestly for 20 years to a charleton.

The word "tranquility" wasn't part of Yaakov's vocabulary. Therefore, what was the request?

Perhaps there are two elements to Torah and Yaakov was addressing one of them. There's the actual toil in Torah where one must meimis atzmo for it, as our Sages. Chazal, say, "Ein Torah miskayemes elah b'mi she'meimis atzmo aleha - Torah stays only with he who sacrifices his life for it," which Yaakov did in yeshiva.

Then, there's the tranquility of Torah that comes as a result of learning the Torah, as the verse (Psalms 19:8) says, "Toras Hashem temima, meshivas nafesh - The Torah is complete, it refreshes the soul." 

It may well be that Yaakov felt the day to day to day toil and backbreaking work in the Torah was done. What is called the amelus was put in. He was created as a result and was now at the second stage where he wanted the tranquility part of the Torah, to reap the hana'a - benefit - from the learning, ponder in Talmudic issues, its sugya's without the pressure of the emotional impact, rogez, of Torah and to pass on the Torah to his children.

To this G-d answered Torah must always involve extreme work and sacrifice to help one grow on a constant basis. 

That can explain G-d's answer. You will get all the peace and quiet to ponder sugya's in the next world, but in this world your Torah must be be'rogez, otherwise, as a substitute for the rogez of Torah, your life will be thrown into a state of 'rogez.