Vayeishev means “and he settled.” Vayeishev begins the famous Joseph story, a story that continues until the end of the Book of Genesis. Joseph had a lot going for him in life—he was handsome, a firstborn son to Jacob through Rachel, favored by his father, and had a comfortable life. Yet, he was hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, torn away from his family, sold into slavery in a foreign land, and put into prison due to false accusations.
Even though it seemed that Joseph would spend the rest of his life in prison, alone, and away from his family, things eventually changed. He gained favor with Pharaoh and soon rose to be viceroy of Egypt—the most powerful empire at that time. Because of it, he was able to save his family from a severe famine. In the end, all that seemed bad was turned around for the good.
Joseph was able to rise above his circumstances and come out successful. God was always with him, and he never stopped believing in God. He knew that everything was part of the Almighty’s plan. Despite all that Joseph went through, he seemed positive, and we don’t get the feeling that he looked at things negatively. If there was someone who taught us how to look at our situations in a positive light, it was Joseph. When it came down to it, we see his response to everything he had gone through: And now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life (JPS 1917, Gen. 45:5).