Vayechi Yaakov b'eretz Mitzrayim shva esrei shana,
And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years.
Chazal teach us that these seventeen years were the most
wonderful years of Yaakov Avinu's life. They were "mai'ain
olam habah", they possessed the quality of the world-to-come;
years of total peace and unity in his family, years of
material prosperity and most of all, years of great spiritual
blessing and achievement.
Perhaps the greatest, most touching moment in the life of
Yaakov Avinu occurs in this parasha, as all his sons, the
twelve shvatim, gather around his bedside. Yaakov Avinu
veiws them, unsure and afraid. He had invested his entire
turbulent lifetime and all the resources that he had in their
upbringing, in order to bring up a family of twelve perfect
tzaddikim, in order that a nation be established on this
earth to fulfill the Divine Will.
But a human being is so complex. Each child's personality is
different, for each child reveals a diverse aspect of the
parent's personality. Even characteristics and thoughts
deeply embedded and concealed in the recesses of the
subconsious show up in a person's offspring..
All the shvatim came together before their father and waited
to be blessed. Yaakov Avinu looked on at them with great
trepidation. Were they all committed to serving HaKadosh
Baruch Hu, all twelve sons, each so different and distinctive
in his personality and his way?
Suddenly, the silence was broken.
The shvatim called out spontaneously and simultaneously,
Sh'ma Yisrael Hashem Elokainu Hashem Echad!
Listen Yisrael; Hashem who is Our G-d, Hashem is One!
Don't worry, Yisrael (referring to their father), although we
are twelve individuals, we are all united in our loyalty and
committment to serving Hashem Echad.
Yaakov Avinu then knew for sure that the goal of his entire
long and troubled life was realized. HaKadosh Baruch Hu
revealed to him at this moment that Yaakov Avinu had
established the foundations for the nation that would
demonstrate and teach the world the Unity of Hashem
Overcome with gratitude and with great joy, Yaakov Avinu
Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuso l'olam va'ed!!!
Blessed be the Honored Name of His Majesty for ever and
There is a very important message to be learned from Parashas
When we examine ourselves in comparison to previous
generations, our accomplishments seem so trivial, puny and
sparse. In addition, the issues and challenges we face seem
so elementary and insignificant! Our intellectual, spiritual
and even physical resourses are so vastly diminished and
depleted, compared to those of even one generation ago.
The lesson of Parasha Vayechi is never to loose heart, never
chas veshalom to despair.
As explained above, it was in Parashas Vayechi, in Galus,
that Yaakov Avinu and the shvatim achieved their greatest
Furthermore we are taught that although the generations keep
on becoming smaller in spiritual quantity, the hearts are
steadily becoming more pure.
And what does HaKodosh Baruch want of us??
Rachmana liba ba'ay.
Only to try our best with sincere hearts.
Chazak chazak Venischazek.