Vayechi means, “and he lives” – rather an inappropriate name, it would seem, for a Parsha which speaks almost entirely about the events surrounding Ya’akov’s passing!
What is life? The Torah teaches us: “You are connected to God, your God, are all alive today” (Devarim 4:4). I.e. true life means to be connected to Gad.
Of course, a Jew is inherently connected to God, but in order for that connection to be visible and apparent in the world, God sends the Jew trials and challenges in his Divine Service. When these hurdles are overcome we then have proof that the connection between a Jew and God is an unbreakable one.
Thus, we are only aware that a person is really alive when he is about to pass away. For only then is it evident that all the trials and tribulations of life were intended to highlight and express the powerful bond of the Jew to Torah and mitzvos. So, only when reaching Parshas Vayechi do we finally witness that Ya’akov indeed lived.
The Talmud states, “Just as his descendants are alive, he too is alive” (Ta’anis 5a). For the true commitment of a person to Judaism is ultimately only discernable when we see his children and grandchildren steadfast in their observance of Torah and mitzvos.
(Based on likkutei Sichos vol. 15, pp. 427ff.)