Parsha Vayechi from Rabbi Gedalia Segal based on derech of Rabbi Asher Freund

Parsha Vayechi

The beginning and the hardship of the exile
This parsha does not have a definite between vayigash and vayechi. this parsha still continues from parshas vayigash. the reason Rashi says is that when Yaakov Aveinu passed away, the eyes of bnei Yisroel were closed and their hearts were closed from the hardships from the work that the Egyptians inflicted. Nevertheless in the medrash we find that until the last member of the tribes, Yaakov’s children, the real harship of the labor did not begin. From the beginning of Yaakov’s death until the passing of the last of his sons. there were many tens and scores of years that passed by. Where does it say that the slavery really began after Yaakov passed away?

We know the slavery did not begin right away but with terach, a fine type of speech, they spoke to the hearts of bnei Yisroel and fooled them to uplift their country, to make the country better, and they gave them a national desire to be loyal citizens of the country, and to build up the country. Since they merited to enjoy the pleasures of the country, so many of them fell into the trap, to work for the country,until they found themselves engaged in slaveery for the country. but there was the tribe of Levi that was not fooled by Pharo and did not want to have this national feeling toward the country that they tried to put into the hearts of the Jewish people. The bnei Levi went in the way of Yaakov and they did not want to leave the Torah. They knew their job was to build the Jewish nation not a foreign nation and they were supposed to shepherd themselves in the Jewish nationality and not the Egyptian nationality and they understood that this nice talk that influenced the Jewish people was the beginning of the hardshuips of the exile. and by joining with the national feeling of Egypt they felt they would lose their own individuality as the children of Yaakov. so they did not start in this national uprising that was so apparent in the Jewish nation at that time. The meaning of Rashi that the death of Yaakov began the slavery because it was with fine talk, the talk in a fine way to try to begin the slavery, in a nice fashion. This happened right after Yaakov passed away. They did not understand the Jewish people that this would be exile and slavery. Just when the sweet talk turned around and became hard labor, then they began to feel the cruelty of the rulers of mitzrayim and they turned their hearts to Hashem and they sing to Him and from their screams, that was the beginning of when the redemption began.

When Yaakov was alive, bnei Yisrael realized all the good in mitzrayim did not come from the country. they knew it was Yosef who saved the egyptians from hunger and they knew that they did not have to really give any thanks to Pharoah. but when Yaakov died, they forgot all of this and that was the begining of the exile.

The education of the generations that come
When Yaakov saw Yosef the first time after 23 years he was very happy. He saw his dear son after so many years thiinking he is dead and nowhe is alive. He Had special joy that he saw he is safe, and within all the nations that were idol worshippers so many year, and he still sensed his righteousness. Afterwards when Yosef brought his sons to Yaakov for a blessing, he saw that the shechina left him. He saw in ruach hakodesh that the generations, the bad generatios were going to come out of these children, from ephraim and menashe. and he asked who are these children that they are not worthy of bracha. and yosef answered and Yaakov gave them a bracha. We wonder why is all of this written in the torah and yet Yaakov blessed them. Why didn’t Yaakov want to bless them originally? He knew they themselves were good children. Ephraim was a talmid in Mitzrayim. Yaakov wanted to hint to his children the importance of educating children in these hard days. We are standing in this bitter exile now and we must put our effort into educating our children with all the challenges and hardships. it is not enough that Yaakov was answsering them that you are pleasing to Hashem in the way of your fathers but the main job is to give over the Torah to future generations because bad generations are at the roots – ephraim and menashe even though they are good children in and of themselves, because bad generations come from them, they are not worthy of the blessing. In the end Yaakov did bless them but first he gives a warning, to make sure they understand their obligations with respect to educating the future genertaions, that all these bad winds and all the challenges and suffering of the exile, they should not be able to move them from the roots of the faith of their sons.

Blessing the children what is it
Yaakov blessed the sons of Yosef, Ephraim and Menashe and he blessed Yosef. If it says he blessed the sons, why does it say he blessed yOsef . the bracha he gives to the children is the bracha he gives to the father. If a person blesses the children it is like they are giving a blessing to the father. that is what every person himself, he hopes his sons should be blessed and he should be blessed through them. when the grandchildren and the children go in the right way, there is no bigger blessing, for the parents and for the grandparents. so yaakov blesses his children,Hashem should bless the children and call them in the ways of my fathers and their names will already be called,, they will be worthy to be alled the children of avraham yitzchok and yaakov and the avos will be happy with their children and the bracha of the children will rest on the fathers.

the yechus, if you come from good people, it is a big thing. it is a big responsibility that the chain should continue, the purity in the children should notembarras the father not in this world or the world to come. this is why we bless Yisrael to be like ephraim and menashe. They continued the chain of the fathers and we should go in the ways of our fathers and give it to our children til the end of the generations. there is a big bracha when the children go in the ways of the fathers.

the chain of the generation otherwise is torn. the fathers have to give the children a lot of wisdom and intention, that the children should continue in the ways they were taught. It should not move to any side away from what he is taught. In galus mitrayim the Jewish people did not change their names, their dress or language. even a change in one of these things is a separation from the past and a going away from the generation.

that is what Yaakov said. Mekarav them to me, that his name should be to the children, that they should want to emulate him and the forefathers and then they will continue in their way and they will be a beauty for their forefathers. that is why it says here, this is the way to go, that the brachas of Israel to their chldren will be continued forever and ever.

Hashem Echad
Yaakov called his children. Chazal say Yaakov wanted to tell when the end of the galus would be and the shechina went away from him. He thought maybeon one of his children was not completely all right. Yaakov thought maybe there is someone not right, like avraham had Ishmael and Yitzchok had esav and he said to his children shema yisrael Hashem elokeinu Hahshem echad and they told him, in your heart, there is ony one, so too in our heart there is only one. that is when Yaakov answered baruch shem kavod malchuso leolam voed. we have to udnerstand, the shechina left Yaakov aveinu and when it came the end, why did it come to his hear there is something wroing with a children and why did he say shema. Yaakov saw with ruach hakodesh all the generations and all that would transpire until Moshiach. then it was brought to him, he saw the generations that blood was spilled in different eras. He had like a depression and that is when the Shechina went away from him. The Shechina does not dwell when there is sadness. He asked his children if there is sometimes impurity between you, that this is what will happen to you. they said you don’t have to suspect us because we are strong in our emunah and we believe that in the end of days all the nations will recognize Hashem is One, just like Rashi says in vayischanon, ww will stand in our faith and give our lives up for Him.

When his children said these things, it made Yaakov’s heart happy and Yaakov said baruch shem, from now until the end of days. that is why all of the galuses and tzaros they could not move us. that is why we see here that Yaaov, when he felt better, and said baruch shem kavod malchusot, that all the exiles and challenges will not be strong enough to make them forget the name of Hashem from my children.

In tehillim, nowt that we come to the end of the doros that You established , when we come to the end of the generations we are still with Hashem, with the nation and we still fear Him. even at the end of days we are still honoring the promise of Yaakov Aveinu to believe in Hashem and His Torah and with this emunah we will be able to weather everything until the Moshiach will come. We will be able to believe in Hashem through the koach of emunah and be zocheh to the time of redemption when His Name will be known as One.

Blessings of Yaakov to his children
Before he passed away from this world, Yaakov calls his children and blesses them, according to the future that he saw with ruach hakodesh, what he saw about eretz Yisrael depending on the promises Hashem made to Avraham Yitzchok and Yaakov. We see the strength of each tribe and he shows the future of each tribe and he tried to take out from them the arrogance and he talks about the kingdom of Yehuda and the strength of daas. He said, there is nothing to be arrogant about, that strength and riches are all presents from Hashem and it should not make you forget about Hashem and say it is by my onw power and success ofmy hands that brought the success. Hashem gives it all, as Yaakov says in the blessings. He says Dan will be like a snake and be able to win over them. the salvation of Hashem is promised at the beginning for Dan, and he tried to hint the same thing in the other brachas. A person is not great from his hands. Hashem gave it to him. the honor and the riches should not make him leave Hashem. Likewise, when a person is humbled with his situaton in life, that we know Hashem made it so, he should not feel bad. A peson should have trust in Hashem. It is middos ha din and middos harachamim. a person knows that in the good times, a person gives it to Him and he is happy with what he gets. A person thatbelieves in Hashem when it is light is not going to be weak in emunah and then if it is dark he still blesses Hashem in bad times because He knows that is ratzon Hashem and He places hinself into the hands of Hashem. He wants to put this in the hearts of his children, when the exile started in mitzrayim. He knew about it from the briss of the covenant what will happen. He wanted them to be able to stand strong in the galus and also to remain loyal. He also wanted to say that when there will be hard times, they should plea to Hashem and He will save them. He told them this at the beginning.

Yissochar and Zevulin are like one person
Yaakov gathered all his children and gave a bracha to all. He gave a special bracha to each shevet. to Yaakov’s sons, divine providence and ruach hakodesh, they saw everything in the future for everyone. He gave a hint to i, in what he said. Yissochar and Zevulin, he knew they would make a partnership, to learn and to do busienss from the shorefront and support his brother so he can learn Torah without worries about parnassa. they strengthened as one, leanring Torah and the avoda of Yissochar will be appropriate for both of them. We think about this partnership, it is between each person and himself. when a person goes to work for his household and he is not thinking of nonsense or wasting his time, the person is in that partnership between himself. this is also the relationship betweent he neshama and the guf, the guf eats to live and the neshama is the spiritual source. it wants to be holy in Hashem. we see that both of them, they do well with this relationship. the neshama keeps itself pure, it goes shelama, and the guf, also turns itself around to be a housing for the spirit of the soul. its eating and drinking is then considered mitzvahs, a vessel.

The person that keeps the Torah, that works and keeps the torah and the halacha is not less choshov from someone who learns Torah. Let’s ay you sell something to your friend or you buy something from your friend, the business is also avoda in Torah. The Baal Shem Tov says a person just learns the Torah for Hashem, it says that a person is very important to Hashem. When a person changes a cow for a donkey, he is behaving in a way for Torah.

We know Hashem creates everything for His Honor, just according to Torah. Everything a person should be holding in Hashem, using correct scales, is doing a mitzvah.

When we are working in busienss we should try to not lie, or make money without righteousness, be careful about anger and kina. that is also Torah. this relationship with Yissochar and Zevulim is also one person, when he is home, he talks in Torah and in the workforce, zevulin.

Ohl HaTorah
We see in the mussar the burden of Torah. There is a challenge of poverty and a challenge of wealth and they say that the challenge of wealth is greater than the challenge of poverty. sometimes we know that poverty breaks soeone’s heart but that Torah can elevate a person but wealth can blind a person’s eyes. It is possible that a person who is weathy really has to give up time for learning and he needs time for learning. we see that it could be that a person, that the wealth and prosperity could make them leave emunah.

what shall we do? to put yourself under the burden of torah, that a rich person should learn the Torah, a person is going to save himself from getting lost with the wealth. It says that Yissachar said to Yaakov that peace is good and the land is pleasant. he saw his mind is blessed. He says he wanted to endure the hardships of the burden of Torah and that is the only idea for a person, when he is wealthy, that he should take the burdenof Torah and be engaged in it day and night. Then he could wthstand the challenge and guard his soul from the danger. and with the challenge of poverty, a person should learn Torah, or he can lose himself in poverty. it can really break a person’s heart. the Torah weakens a person’s heart. it seems the torah is the answser to eveythng. it breaks away all the taiva and gaiva and all the bad middos. Learning Torah does not being any loss to a person, it helps his spirit and neshama forever and ever.

Asking mechila
When Yosef and the brothers finished burying Yaakov and returned to egypt, they asked that Yosef forgive them for the hardships they caused them. the brothers of Yosef were blessed tribes, and they were great people. We cannot judge what they did to Yosef. It was not just a jealousy. they had a din, based on how they were acting towards them. that is why they wanted to kill him, and then they got merciful and sold him as a slave. and they knew that this came back through shemayim that they should go to mitzrayim, to keep the briss of the covenants told to avraham two hundred years earlier. Yosef told him they dont have to feel bad that he was chosen to make food so why ask to be forgiven, only good came from it, this is what had to be, so maybe they did not do anything wrong.

so why do they fele they had to ask mechila. we should not make calculations like that, that it was supposed to be like that, it was from Hashem. to ask mechila, the way of Yosef is that if a person does something wrong he should ask mechila. no teshuva will help a sin betewewn a person and a friend. if we ask sorry to a person we did something wrong to, a person has to be careful not to hurt another person. a person should hurry to say sorry and not make calculations. it is important to say sorry if we hurt a friend.

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