פַּסִּים, עַל שֵׁם צָרוֹת שֶׁהִגִּיעוּהוּ, פֵּ”א פּוֹטִיפַר, סמ”ך סוֹחֲרִים, יו”ד יִשְׁמְעֵאלִים, מ”ם מִדְיָנִים.
It was called “Pasim” because of the troubles that would befall him: PEH=Potifar; SAMECH=Sale to Merchants; YUD=Yishmaelim; MEM=Midyon (Medrash Rabbah 84:8)
The question that one can ask is why the gift that is supposed to show Yaakov’s love towards Yosef hints to the difficult trials and tribulations that Yosef would face.
As we walk through life, Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives us many tests. Sometimes we rise to the challenge and sometimes we fall short. When we succeed we feel contentment that we have overcome a challenge, and then we stop thinking about the challenge and carry on with the rest of our lives.
If this is all we have done, then we have not taken from the challenge what we were supposed to take. Let us use the example of a mother who prods her child and cajoles him to walk. Sometimes the youngster will succeed and sometimes he will fall. Success is not achieved until the youngster realizes “I am not a crawling baby, but I am a child who can walk.”
If we would have been in Eretz Yisrael at the times of the Greeks, we would have asked ourselves “What does Hashem want from us? How can we overcome this challenge?” However, Hakadosh Baruch Hu put the Jews of that time in this position and they rose to the challenge and succeeded beyond their expectations. Such successes find a special place in the hearts of parents: When the child becomes a “super-achiever” in his own eyes, this in turn gives the parent an unbelievable amount of nachas in that the parent has succeeded in advancing the child. So too, we celebrate Chanukah—our super achievement—which causes us to have favor in Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s eyes.
Yaakov gave to Yosef the ketones pasim – a gift that showed that Yaakov believed in Yosef and loved him dearly. Now we can see that the hints found in the word “pasim” are not “problems” that Yosef would face, but challenges that he would overcome to make him into a “super-achiever”
We too should keep in mind that when we overcome our challenges, we have not just succeeded in a challenge, but we have become a different person—A “super-achiever.”