This author recalls a commentary by the K’li Yekar (Judiaca Press Chumash, 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.
Therefore, Yaakov would not, or could not reveal the end lest the B’nai Yisrael, at an 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 a Jew, 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.
Like our historical, bibilical predecessors in Mitzriyim, many of those in Chutz L’Aretz perceive golus as permanence and have lost sight of where home is.
But the lesson of this K’li Yekar for we who live in Eretz Yisrael is more stark. The lesson for us is not about living here for we already do. The lesson is about the passive acceptance, by many, perhaps the vast majority of us, of the prevailing so-called “reality” of corruption, graft, protexia, excessive “make-work” bureacratic red-tape and total lack of legal justice in Israel. The lesson is about morality which is a cornerstone of unity amongst the B’nai Yisrael. We forgot the concept of unity which welded the nation, the B’nai Yisrael upon the Yetziyot Mitzriyim.
This author has often repeated on this blog the point that Israelis, Jews MUST commit themselves to bring real change and suggests the following;
In order to not only remove Olmert and his crew from power, but to change the system of governance, requires recognition by the modern-day Am that excessive bureaucracy, proteczia, influence-peddling, the “Old-Boys” doing favors for each other in exchange for what the other will do to enrich them, and the existence of Hamulas will have to end.
In short, the beginning of the end of Olmert and his 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 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: Olmert, Peres, Barak, Livni, Ramon, Sheetrit, Mofaz, etc. — leaders who mirror who we collectively are.
May we be zocha in this coming year that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the 3 captive Chayalim and the other MIAs be liberated and returned to us 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 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!!!
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.