Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan
Yosef is ruthlessly sold by his brothers to slave traders on their way to Egypt. The Torah tells us that these traders were carrying a load of pleasant smelling spices and incense. Rashi asks why the Torah needs to tell us this seemingly irrelevant piece of information? Who cares what their cargo was! Rashi explains that Hashem did not want to cause discomfort to Yosef in his long journey to Egypt and thus had him transported in a wagon of sweet smelling spices as opposed to a wagon carrying malodorous tar or the like, commodities that were widespread in those days. The commentaries ask that Yosef is now on his way to be an unfortunate slave in a distant land with no hope of redemption. He is on the verge of losing his freedom, his family, and his entire future of marrying and bringing up a family. He is losing his part in the spreading of the new religion that his grandfather founded and his contribution to the advancement of mankind.
Considering this extremely dire predicament, what benefit is there to be gained from being transported in a pleasant-smelling caravan? The commentaries explain, as much as we do not understand the workings and plans of Hashem, we accept that Hashem is always working on the premise of absolute justice. Indeed, Yosef's seemingly disastrous sale ultimately led to the salvation of the Jewish nation from the famine ravaging the Middle East. We may not be able to understand why we are subjected to distress but we can be certain of one thing: we will not be made to suffer even one iota more than what Hashem judged to be our lot, even something as simple as a foul smell. The pleasant fragrance of the caravan is testimony to this assurance.