THE CLOSED SECRET
Genesis 47:27- 28
Sources: Beraishis Rabah 96:1. Rashi
A Sefer Torah is normally written with empty spaces between one parsha and the next. But parshas Vayechi is unique in that it is written "closed," without any space between it and the previous parshah. Why is it written in such an unusual way?
This teaches us that Yaakov wanted to reveal to his sons the keitz, which is the exact time of Mashiach's coming. But Hashem "closed off" his memory at that very moment. The Torah hints this to us by "closing" off the beginning of the parsha.
Sources: Midrash quoted in Torah Shleima 48:147, 25:214.
Before he passed away, Yaakov gave to his son Yosef an extra portion of land: "...I am giving you Shechem which I took from the Amonite with my sword and bow."
The Midrash asks, Esav is the one who was told by Avraham that he would live by the sword (27:40). Why is it now mentioned that Yaakov had a sword?
This was a very special sword. It originally belonged to Avraham, and had the Name of Hashem engraved in it. He gave it to Yitzchak, who gave it to Yaakov. When Esav wanted to fight Nimrod, he made an exchange with Yaakov, giving him the birthright for the sword. Later, Esav asked his mother, Rivkah, "Hold my sword for me. When Yaakov's children sin, I will take my sword and kill them." I will take my sword and kill them." But Eliyahu HaNavi took the sword away and brought it to Yaakov.
When the Geulah comes, the Bnei Yisrael will use this sword to defeat the descendants of Esav, as it is written, "And the saviours will rise from Mount Zion to judge Mount Esav." (Ovadiah 1:21)
OUR LAND FOREVER
Source: Midrash Seichel Tov
Before blessing Yosef's sons, Yaakov repeated to him Hashem's promise, "I will give this land to you and your descendants after you as an inheritance forever."
Hashem's promise, "to you and your descendants," means that Eretz Yisrael was given to all the Bnei Yisrael after Yaakov until Mashiach. The fulfillment of the promise that it will be, "an inheritance forever," will be only in the days of Mashiach. Then there will be
two unique points: we will receive the entire Eretz Yisrael, and it will be ours forever.
YAAKOV SHOWED THE FUTURE
Sources: Beraishis Rabah 98:2. Yechezkiel 38:16. Michah 4:1
"And Yaakov called to his sons and said: Come together and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days." What was it that Yaakov saw and showed his children?
Rabbi Simon said, Yaakov showed his sons the downfall of Gog and Magog, as it is written, "It will be in the end of days...and I will bring Gog to your land." Rabbi Yehudah said, He showed them the building of the third Bais Hamikdash, as it is written, "In the end of days, the mountain of Hashem's house will be ready."
THE SECOND GATHERING
Source: Midrash in Torah Shleimah 49:13
Yaakov told his children to "gather together" (49:1) and then told them a second time to "gather together" (49:2). Yaakov repeated it twice to hint to his children that Bnei Yisrael will be "gathered in" from Galus on two occasions.
The first time we were gathered together was when Hashem brought us back to Eretz Yisrael from Babylon. The second time will be when we will all be brought back to Eretz Yisrael with the final Redemption through Mashiach.
LOADS OF FRUIT
Source: Kesubos 111b
Yaakov blessed Yehudah that his land would produce a large amount of wine: "He loads down his donkey with a single grapevine, his young donkey with a branch."
The main blessing will be fulfilled in the Days of Mashiach, and for the entire Eretz Yisrael. Every single grapevine in Eretz Yisrael will be so large and full of grapes that it will need a donkey to carry it. Even barren trees will have so much fruit, that two young donkeys will be needed to carry them.
WHEN SHILOH (MASHIACH) COMES
Source: Beraishis Rabah 98:8
Yaakov blessed Yehudah that, "The scepter will not depart from Yehudah ... until Shiloh comes, and the nations obey him." This refers to Melech HaMashiach, who comes from the tribe of Yehudah, and to whom all the nations of the world will gather and obey. He is called Shiloh for a number of reasons:
* "Shiloh" like "She-lo" ("that which is his") -- that true kingship belongs to him; indeed, the entire world belongs to him. (Targum, Rashi, Otzar Midrashim p. 217)
* "Shai lo" ("gift to him") -- all nations of the world will bring a gift to Melech HaMashiach. (Rashi. Yalkut Shimoni 160)
* "Shalvah" ("peace") -- In the days of Mashiach there will be peace, everyone will be free to learn Torah, will have everything they
need, and will be happy. (S'forno. Midrash in Torah Shleimah 49:157)
* "Shilyasah" or "Sh'lil" ("newborn") -- that he will be born to regular parents like a regular human being. (Ibn Ezra. Rabeinu Bechaye)
Insights on the Geula (Redemption) from the Weekly Torah Portion
Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
"When the days grew near for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him.. do not bury me in Egypt.. carry me out of Egypt.. And [Jacob] said to him, Swear to me! And [Joseph] swore to him." (Vayechi 47:29-31) Jacob did not rely on Joseph's promise but asked him to swear. He had no peace of mind until he obtained that oath. A promise differs from an oath. With a promise one will no doubt do his best to keep it at the appropriate time. Until then, however, one is not disturbed by the pledge. With an oath, however, one is concerned from the moment of swearing: the mind is constantly preoccupied with thoughts how to keep the oath, worrying about the fact that failure to do so would lead to the severe consequences of having violated an oath.
Jacob thus charged Joseph, and through him all of Israel, with a most important lesson how to relate to the galut (exile). To be sure, our galut was decreed by the Almighty. Nonetheless, we on our part must sense that the galut is not the place where we belong. A request or promise eventually to leave Egypt, therefore, is not enough. One must sense, and constantly be concerned, that any additional moment in Egypt is a painful burden. Thus one will not cease to pray and demand from the Almighty - "Carry me out from Egypt!" Even when comfortable in the galut with a materially and spiritually good and pleasant life, one must realize that the galut is not our place. There must be a profound sensing of exile, of being in an alien place where we do not belong. Just as an oath deprives one from peace of mind until it is actually fulfilled, so one is not to cease from crying out and continuously demanding "Carry me out from Egypt!"
"Gather together and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days." (Vayechi 49:1) The Talmud relates that Jacob "bikesh legalot et haketz - wished to reveal the end (of the galut)" but it was concealed from him. Jacob wished to reveal the date of the Messianic redemption. One could also read this in the sense of "he wished to reveal, i.e., manifest and bring about, the end." In this context there is an important moral for every Jew. We are to follow in the footsteps of our patriarch, and wish and pray for the revelation or manifestation of the ultimate end. To seek this, and to contemplate this, will of itself assist and encourage the service of G-d. This is clearly seen in the fact that when informing a Jew "Behold, Moshiach is about to come!" and "We want Moshiach NOW!" - this message inspires and encourages him/her in his service of G-d to bring about this ultimate goal.