Parsha Vayechi 5770: Battling the Evolution of Enslavement, Persecution

by Moshe Burt

This author recalls a commentary by the K’li Yekar (Judiaca Press Chumash, Vol.3, page 600) on the first posuk of Parsha Vayechi which is leyned this Shabbos.

The K’li Yekar explains the lack of a space between the end of the previous sedra Vayigash and our parsha as meaning that the two poskim are understood together. The final verse of Vayigash reads;

And Yisrael dwelt in the land of Mitzriyim in the land of Goshen, and they acquired property in it and… multiplied greatly.

The first posuk of Vayechi reads;

And Yaakov lived in the land of Mitzrayim for seventeen years…

The K’li Yekar indicates in part that Yaakov lost his Ruach HaKodesh; his ability to give prophesy, and that the Shechinah, Hashem’s presence (if you will) departed from him during his 17 years in Mitzrayim.

The K’li Yekar further indicates that the loss of prophesy and the departure of the Shechinah;

was caused by the attitude taken by the children of israel in Mitzrayim, who knew how long their exile would last and allowed themselves to become permanent citizens of Mitzrayim. For this reason, there was no space between the final verse of Vayigash and and the initial verse of Vayechi, to imply that since the children of Israel considered themselves permanent residents of Mitzrayim, Yaakov’s spirit was not with him all of the seventeen years that he spent in Mitzrayim.

In short, the Sh’vatim, the Am forgot about their true home in Canaan, in Eretz Yisrael.

Yaakov, therefore would not or, could not reveal the end lest the B’nai Yisrael, at any given time of our history, despair of being redeemed and consider themselves permanent residents of Chutz L’Aretz, just as our ancestors did in Mitzriyim.

In compiling these vorts on the Parsha, this author tries to extrapolate and apply the past to the present. Today, often there is the tendency to rationalize; then was then and now is now, with then thus being abstract.

It seems that there are lessons for our times in this K’li Yekar, both for Jews in Chutz L’Aretz and Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

For Jews in Chutz L’Aretz, particularly in the US, it seems that being American has supplanted identity as Jews, even in religious circles such that expressions like “Borough Park Ir HaKodesh” prevail and that aliyah, even with all of the great and holy work of Nefesh b’Nefesh, is still but a relative trickle compared to the number of Jews in Chutz L’Aretz. The lesson of the acceptance by the Sh’vatim of Mitzrayim as home which is followed by the evolving enslavement of Jews appears to have been lost on American Jews. Many or most of the Jews, who bear the scars of the Galut, seem to have long-ago resigned themselves to accepting the perception of normalcy and have devalued and degraded their levels of Jewishness.

But the lesson of this K’li Yekar for we who love in Eretz Yisrael is more stark. The lesson for us is not about living here for we already do. The lesson relates to passive acceptance by many in Israel, perhaps the vast majority of us, of the prevailing so-called “reality” of corruption, graft, protexia, as well legal, justice and military systems by way of political agenda. The masses appear to have accepted as “inevitable” a political agenda of divide, conquer and eradicate Jewishness from the souls of Israelis which manifests itself eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And with the expression “ein ma’alasot” — “there is nothing that can we do?”, the masses grow complacent. After all, we are but powerless piyons before the likes of an Ehud Barak — all-knowing — all-powerful regime. The lesson of Jewish morality toward one’s brother and toward Eretz Kedusha, which compells standing strong caring about our fellow Jew as one’s self — cornerstone of unity amongst the B’nai Yisrael, seems lost on the masses.

This author has often repeated on this blog the point that Jews MUST commit themselves to bring real change and suggests the following;

In order not only to remove the modern-day political agendists from power, but to change the system of governance, there requires recognition by the modern-day Am that excessive bureaucracy, protexia, influence-peddling, the “Old-Boys” doing favors for each other behind closed doors, in smoke-filled rooms in exchange for what the other will do to enrich them — all have to end.

In short, the beginning of the end of the Baraks, the Netanyahus and their ilk begins with US. It begins with the intellectualization and internalization that Jewish morality dictates that achievement of position and title be based on merit, experience, honesty, fairness and worthiness, NOT based on protexia; who it is you know — from the position of Prime Minister down to the mortgage applicant at the local bank. The morality of honesty, fairness and worthiness are the truest sense of V’Ahavta, L’Rei’echa, Kamocha.

And of course, the Olim Chadashim can help foster and hasten this change by being forceful as we would be in the US and not allowing ourselves to be intimidated, stepped on or belittled.

But until the Jews are willing to commit themselves to the axiomatic reality of change based the Jewish attributes of fairness, integrity, merit, experience and worthiness, as well as V’Ahavta, L’Rei’echa, Kamocha — treating our brethren as we ourselves would want to be treated, we will continue to have same effete leadership: Bibi, Barak, Peres, Livni, Ramon, Sheetrit, Mofaz, etc. — leaders who mirror who we are.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.