This week's Parshah is Parshat Vayechi, which is the twelfth and last Parshah in the book of Genesis. The Parshah tells us about Jacob’s last days and his farewell to his sons.
Jacob says farewell to his sons with a speech in which he gives each one a unique blessing appropriate to his character, and predicts what the future will be for each son - that is, each tribe. He died at the age of 147 years, but not before asking them to bury him together with his father Yitzchak, and his grandfather Avraham, in the cave of Maarat Hamachpela in the city of Hebron.
Why does this week's Parsha - which describes the end of Jacob's life, his death and his funeral - bear the name "Vayechi", meaning “And he lived” in Hebrew?
One of the scholars of the Talmud said that "Jacob our father never died." His colleagues argued about this and asked, "So, did they bury Jacob for no reason? Did they eulogize him in vain?" And to this the Talmud replies, "Whoever’s seed is alive, he also lives." The seed symbolizes the good deeds that his sons continue to do even after he passes away.
In other words, all of the good things we're doing now in this world will last and will stay here forever. I believe the Torah is trying to convey to us a message that a person who does things in their life that are very important to the world, remains alive in our memories and in our lives even if they are not really present. Jacob's special actions cause him to remain alive in our memories, as he has for 3,667 years.
The message for us in Parashat Vayechi is that we, like Jacob, must invest thought before we act to make sure that we use our lives here wisely in such a way that we will have a positive impact on the future of the world.
And this is what Jacob teaches us in this week's Parsha: to be productive in our lives and think about how we may use our time wisely. The value we add to our lives and to the world will remain here forever. Our time in this world in flesh is only temporary so may we spend every moment we are here wisely.
Thank you very much and Shabbat Shalom.
Eilay, Grade 10