In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, the 12th from and including Bereishis, we learn about the end of life of Jacob, the last leg of the Patriarchs. From the way the Torah names the Parshiyos (sections), we see that the lives of the Tsadikim, or righteous, even when they are leaving this world, is an eternal celebration of their life. We saw the same thing with Chayei Sara, or the life of Sarah. This is an important Parsha as we read about blessing children, we learn about visiting the sick, and we learn about giving respect to the dead. Basically, this Parsha is a life lesson in the life cycle of man. As noted by Rabbi Arye Pinter, the Patriarchs were down to earth people. They kissed and hugged their children. Talking about kissing and hugging, that phrase equals l’avdah u’lishamra, to serve and protect, as noted in Bereishis. This means that when you hug and kiss a loved one, that builds and strengthens a relationship and makes it flourish as well.
In this week’s Parsha, Jacob blesses his children and compares them to the animal kingdom. Judah is a lion, Dan is a serpent, Issachar is a donkey, Naftali is a hind, and Benjamin is a wolf. Right from the start, we see an allusion at the beginning of the Parsha since the term Vayechi yaakov, or Jacob lived, equals aryeh or lion. Both equal 216. See Genesis 47:28. With my kaleidescope Gematria analysis, we see a connection between Psalms and part of the first verse of Vayechi. The Torah says, Vayehi yimei Yaakov shnei chayav sheva shanim v’arba’im u’mi’as shanah, or, ” and the days of Yaakov were one hundred forty seven years. What did those years represent? They were almost a century and a half. The Gematria of this term is 2560. Another phrase with the same number can be found at Psalm 18:3, where it says, “Hashem is my rock , my fortress and my rescuer. My G-d my rock in Whom I take shelter my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” We see this phrase very much connects to the life of Jacob as he faced many adverse situations and Hashem rescued him from all. He dealt with Esau, Eliphaz, 20 years dealing with the scheming Lavan, Shechem’s rape of Dinah, the loss of his beloved wife, Rachel, on the road, the disappearance of Joseph for 22 years and the famine. One tragedy after another but at the end of the day, Hashem was there for Jacob. Hashem was his rock and his salvation.
Near the end of Jacob’s life, the Torah says he was choleh or ill. This is the first time in Genesis it mentions that someone was ill. See Genesis 48:1. Usually, when our loved ones or friends fall ill we pray for their recovery. Hence, the Gematria of Joseph and Asnas, Jacob’s son and daughter in law equal Refuah Sheleimah, or speedy recovery. Both terms equal 667.
Jacob blessed the children of Joseph. There is a famous phrase that all parents bless their children and it comes from this week’s Torah reading, where it says, yesimcha Elokim k’Efraim u’Menashe. See Verse 48:20. This phrase equals 1208. Another phrase with same number equals Torah Neveiim Ukesuvim, or Torah Writings and Prophets. This means we want our children to emulate our righteous ancestors as noted in the Torah.
Near the closing bell of Jacob’s life, he tells his children to gather around him so he can tell them what will happen in the end days. However, according to the sages of Israel, it got hidden from him. Or did it? With the aid of Gematria, we have a clue.
The reading is a little harsh but there is consolation in the end. The sentence at verse 49:1 equals 3526, which is also same as Psalm 79.2, where it says,”they have given the corpse of your servants, as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your devout ones to the beasts of the earth.” However, the end of the Psalm says, “as for us, Your people, of Your pasture, we shall thank you forever, for generation after generation shall relate your praise.” For us to contine to always praise and thank Hashem means that we will also merit peaceful times as well. Rashi says, ve’hischil omer devarim acheirim, or “and he began to say other things.” With aid of Gematria, we have an allusion. This phrase equals 1221. Another phrase with the same number can be found in the Gates of Reincarnation, where it says, sh’laimus hanefesh, or perfection of the soul. Rabbi Chaim Vital z’tl is explaining to us that a soul is broken down to several sparks and those sparks come down as new bodies to correct our past sins and perfect our souls. Let’s turn to Rashi again. He says, bikeish legalos es hakeitz venistalak me’menu Hashechina or “he wanted to reveal the end but it became hidden from him.” This term equls 2639 which is also the same as Psam 60:13, which says the following, “Give us help against the oppressor, futile is rescue by man.” Once again, we see our guide in life is Psalms, which is revered by millions across the world. There are people who constantly says Psalms.
The next verse after 49:1 says, “Gather yourselves and listen, O sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.” See Genesis 49:2. This verse equals 1936, which is same as Genesis 6:6. This verse says that Hashem relented on making man. So what do we do? How can we make things better? By reading, studying and following the commandments of Hashem. According to the Ramban, every time the Torah talks about the end days is an allusion to the Messianic days. He says ki ledivrei ha’kol, acharis hayamim yemos haMoshiach heim, or, “according to the words of all, end days are the Messianic days. This verse equals 1919. This is same as verse 84.3 of Psalms, where it says, “Yearn and indeed, pine does my soul for the courtyards of Hashem.” Artscroll commentators stress that true fulfillment is only in the presence of Hashem.
Finally, we learn about the blessing of Yehuda at 49:9, where Jacob compares him to a lion. The entire verse equals 2509. According to Shmuel Ashkenazi, Yehuda is like a lion, using his full energy in the service of Hashem by building Yeshivos. According to King David, it refers to the study of Torah day and night, with the energy of a lion. How do I know that? Since Verse 1.2 of Psalm equals 49:9.
May our end days be like our beginning days, under guidance of our Torah scholars who study the Holy Torah day and night and give us halachic laws of keen insight and bright light.
Mimamakim By Avrumi David