Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayechi

Treasure The Moment

By Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden

In the closing days of his life, our Patriarch Yaakov (Jacob) commanded Yosef (Joseph) not to inter him in Egypt. He made Yosef swear that he will be buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Chevron. He then offered Yosef's two sons and all of his own sons blessings that guide and define the future of each of the Twelve Tribes. After the blessings and Yaakov's subsequent demise, there was a 70 day mourning period, followed by a huge procession that brought Yaakov to his final resting place in the Holy Land.

At the time of Yaakov's death, "when Yaakov finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed, he expired and was gathered to his people." (Beraishis/Genesis 49:33) What is the significance of Yaakov drawing his feet?

Three weeks ago we read, "Yaakov settled in the land of his father's sojourning." (37:1) Rashi quoted the Midrash which contrasted the settling of Yaakov - which implies permanence - and the sojourn of his father Yitzchak (Isaac) - which appears to be temporary. The Midrash inferred that after his long exile and struggles with Lavan, "Yaakov wished to finally settle down in tranquility, but the anguish of Yosef's kidnapping pounced upon him."

Rabbi Gedaliah Schorr (1910-1979; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Mesivta Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn, New York; described as the first American trained gadol) expounded that Yaakov was being taught the preciousness of life. Every moment of life has its purpose, granted for the sake of accomplishment. Yaakov thought he had done so much in his life - and he had - and he could now "relax" and focus his time on his relationship with the Creator. But G-d had other plans; there was still much to accomplish. Yaakov, as long as he lived, needed to serve as the Father of the Jewish nation, preparing his children to lead the future generations. Yaakov was being taught how a servant of G-d must continue to "plant the seeds" throughout all the days of his life.

The Talmud (Eruvin 65a) related a similar anecdote. Rav Chisda was asked by his daughter, "You look exhausted, why don't you sleep a little?" to which he responded, "The day will come when I have plenty of opportunity to sleep (after my passing)." We were put in this world to accomplish, not to relax.

Our Father, Yaakov, had already inculcated this lesson. Homiletically, we understand he reemphasized it in his final mortal act. Only at that last moment in life did Yaakov "draw his feet onto the bed." Only then, the moment before death, did he lift his feet off the ground and recline.

Rest and relaxation are tools used toward an end, not ends in themselves. Life is the opportunity to bring oneself and others closer to G-d and every moment must be utilized toward achieving that goal.

Have a good Shabbos!


Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Project Genesis, Inc.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of the Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON HAAZINU AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Humble Beginnings
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Happy New Year!
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Sowing the Seeds of Teshuva
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Kinder and More Truthful Nation
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

No Threats, Just Decisions
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

To Crown a King
Shlomo Katz - 5767

ArtScroll

Listen Up! Here's the Brochah
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

The Mystical Tug of the Shofar
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Sound of the Unheard Shofar
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

That Ancient Memory
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

How Close Is Hashem to Us?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

The Blessings We All Hope For
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> Spiritual Climates
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Rosh HaShana - Of Creation and Our King
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Art of the Deal and It's Impact
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Heaven and Earth
Shlomo Katz - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information