Parshas Vayechi:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il

Parshas Vayechi

Pasuk 48:2

"And it was told to Yakov, behold Yosef your son is coming, and Yisrael exerted himself, and sat upon the bed"

The Gra"h (Sefer Kol Eliyahu) comes and says that there is a much deeper thought here.
The Chazal say in Gemarah Nedarim (39), when someone visits the sick, they take away 1/60 of ones illness.  However, this is only when one is a "Ben Giloh" to the sick person.
Nedarim (39):
 ·  Rashi explains that this means that the one who is visiting is the same as the other, boy = boy, elderly = elderly.
 ·  While the Ran explains there that they were both born in the same Mazal. (Nedarim 39)

The Gra"h then comes and brings two points:
1)  We know that Yosef was the "Ben Giloh" of Yakov, as we see in:
 ·   Rashi on the Pasuk (37:3), that "Ben Zekunim" =  that he was similar to him.
  (The Kli Yakar on the Pasuk writes that it means, when he was in his fathers presence he acted like a Zakein.  While the Ramban says, Yosef knew so much Torah like a Zakein.)

2)  The Gematriah of the word "Hineh "(behold) =60.
The Gematriah of the word "Hamitah"(the bed)=59

Comes the Gra"h and says that this is what the Pasuk is coming to tell us, "behold here comes Yosef to take away 1/60 of your sickness", since only Yosef was called Yakov's Ben Gil.
Therefore we right away see, further on in the Pasuk "Vayechazek Yisroel", he got up by himself, for he lost 1/60 of his sickness.  And "Vayeishev Al Hamitah", he sat now on 59 parts of sickness and not 60.

Pasuk (48:14)

"And Yisrael extended his right hand and placed it on Efraimís head,  even though he was the youngster, and he placed his left hand on Menashe.  He maneuvered his hands because Menashe was the eldest of the two brothers".

We may ask some questions on this Pasuk.
For one, why did Yakov bless Efraim and Menashe twice,  and only in the second Beracha did he mention their names?
Also what is meant that he put Efraim before Menashe?

There are many explanations do these questions, I would like to build on the idea brought down by Rabbi Schlesinger (Sefer Ayleh Hadvarim)

He brings down many Mefarshim (Marshal, Ha' Shlah, Noam Elimelech, Kesav Sofer...), that the Pasuk comes to tell us why Yakov crossed his hands and why he didnít just move his grandsons?
They explain that since Menashe was the eldest, Yakov didn't want to hurt his feelings by blessing Efraim first, and since their heads were facing downwards to receive the Beracha, they didn't see Yakov's hands being crossed.  And therefore he didn't mention their names, also not to embarrass Menashe.  Yet after Yosef tried to correct him, Menashe already new, therefore Yakov already blessed them with a blessing that included their names.
The Sefer Arugat Habosem brings down that the same way that Yakov blessed his grandsons now even though bad people would come out from them in the future, is a Midah found by Hashem.  That Hashem judges a person how he is now, and not in the future.
However, for the good that will come out of a person in the future, Hashem also looks at the future, even in the present.

Comes the Arugat Ha Bosem and asks, in either case:
If Yakov was judging them on the future, they were not fit for a Beracha.  If on the Present, he should have blessed Menashe before Efraim?
He then answers that all the actions that Yakov did here was in order to make a future role model, that even Hashem would do the same with Am Yisrael, to attach the good in the future, with ones present condition, yet not the bad in the future.
Just like Efraim was blessed before Menashe because of the good that will come out in the future, the  same we ask from Hashem to bless us with good, based on the good we will do in the future, and not join the bad that will come out of us in the future (Chas Veh Shalom)

The Sefer Yetav Panim (Chanukah sif 6), brings this idea, and goes into great detail how this idea ties into Chanukah.  Since Chanukah has already passed, I will like to just take the main idea.
He brings down the Medrash found in Bereishis Rabbah (63:2), "Avraham was saved from the burning furnace only in the merit of Yakov Avinhu".

Why did the Pasuk only mention Yakov Avinhu?  Weren't there many other great people that came out of Avraham?
So he explains, that Avraham was saved from the burning furnace not because of the great Gedolim that will come out from him, but only in the merit of Yakov.

Yakov Avinhu was Kovayah the Hanhagah, that Hashem looks at the good that will come out of a person in the future.  Therefore it says in Yeshayahu(29) that "Yakov Padah Et Avraham" , it was Yakov's merits which  released Avraham Avinhu.  It was the merit that he blessed his grandsons based on the good they will do in the future and their present good deeds.

We see from this that a positive action can have long going effects, for many years and even generations to come.
This same idea is also found when Yakov Avinu asks Yosef not to bury him in Egypt.  Because he didn't want to be worshipped by the Egyptians after his death.
Even though Yakov would not be doing any wrongful act, and only passively be a catalyst for the wrong things.  We learn that this is also considered bad. As it states in the Gemarah Shabbos (149:2), one is punished also if he passively becomes an object of his friend's sin.

As we saw above, that Hashem's mercy is much greater than his harsh judgment, one can be certain that if one causes his  friend to do a Mitzvah by being only a passive example, he would definitely be rewarded.
At times, one who does a passive act , which becomes a catalyst for a righteous act on the part of another individual, is deemed to be more significant than ones own righteousness.  Let us all try to be a role model for others, like Yakov Avinhu was, just like in his merit Avraham Avinhu was saved from the burning furnace,  let us also try to be role models for others, and in this merit may we all be saved from the burning furnace of our present Galus.
(The above was adapted from Rav Michel Barenbaum & Rav Schlesinger & Some of My Additions.)

Pasuk (49:13-14 )

The Pasuk deals with Yisachar and Zevulen.
We know that the tribe of Yisachar symbolizes the tribe of "Torah Learning", Yakov Avinhu compared him to a Donkey.  Why didn't he compare him to a Horse?
Comes the Sefer Shai L'Torah, and explains that when a Horse rests from its work, one needs to remove all the parcels from its back, before it goes down and rests.
However,  the nature of a donkey is that it is able to rest even with its parcels on it.

Same is true when dealing with a person who spends his days learning Torah.
One can tell if someone is a real "Ben Torah" by the way he rests and takes his vacations.
If during his resting time, he still sits and learns Torah, this is a true Torah scholar.
However, if one during his rest feels he has to relieve himself of all his Torah Packages, than he is not a real "Ben Torah".

How many of us during our Summer vacation make sure to keep up with out Torah learning?  One is never free from learning Torah.
"Ki Hem Chayeinuh Ve Orech Yameinuh..."
One who truly makes sure to constantly spend his time learning Torah, even when he rests ("Beshivtecha Beh Vaysecha... (Kerias Shema)), he too will merit to the Beracha of "Veh Nasati Metar Artzechem Beh Ito...".
I would like to also tie this into the previous Dvar Torah, that each one of us has the ability and responsibility to be a role model to the other.  We have to always make sure, that even when we are on vacation, and want to "loosen up" a bit, we must always remember that we are Jews, and we must act like one, and to make sure not to make a Chilul Hashem.


Lost Objects:

The Shulchan Aruch (Yorei Deah 242) brings down the case of one returning a lost object, in a case where one finds a lost object of his Rebbe and his father, who does he take care of first?
So the Shulchan Aruch brings down that his Rebbe comes first since his father only brought him to this world, while his Rebbe brings him to the World-To-Come. (Bava Metzia 33:1).
The Ramah brings down that in a case where the father pays for the sons tuition, the respect for ones father comes before the respect of his Rebbi.
The Shach even goes a step further and says that in a case where some third party pays for the kids tuition, he then deserves a higher degree of respect than the Rebbi.
From here we see a perfect example of the idea of Zevulen coming before Yisachar.
( Idea taken from the Sefer Reb Michels Shmuessen, Rabbi Michel Barenbaum).