Parashat Vayechi

My Children

What is required of you is only to give trust, to know it is for sure good, to give yourself to the good and have a good influence- without listening to the weakening whispers in your ear of the scientific proofs and statistical facts and astrological forecasts and the numerological guesses and the genetics…

yaakov blessing

Harav Israel Asulin

Monday, 9th of Tevet, 5776


One of the main branches of the evil inclination is called ‘wisdom and investigations.’  This is a branch which looks really good and has a special, high profile- it is important, learned and logical and sees the expected results.  It has an archive filled with very thick books- history books filled with deep understandings and science books loaded with evidence and studies; this branch also has advanced equipment for investigating the future- binoculars, telescopes, sophisticated satellites, scientific sensors, facts, forecasts, statistics and probabilities…

Then you come along, a Jew who wants to live according to God’s will, and suddenly you discover that a representative of this branch is on his way to you… the voice of this same wise guy who sees the future sits on the opening of your heart and mind and pokes at you with destructive consistency and logical arguments: “Forget about you!  There’s no chance!  You already tried to go towards the good and you see with your own eyes how always at this important moment, everything turns upside down to evil and black and unbearable.  Why even try?!  Look at the reality outside!  Look yourself at this darkness and tell me:  Where is it possible to find light here?  How?  What, are you blind!?  Please, do me a favor, have both feet on the ground and don’t speak to me with unrealistic and mystical concepts of ‘good’, ‘progress’, and ‘light’, when the reality speaks for itself.  Don’t be naïve, look at the reality with a realistic outlook, forget about all these nice words; let’s let life flow as it is, with hope to get hurt as little as possible and to survive as much as possible…”

Yes.  The branch of the wisdom and investigations is veteran and professional and knows to work excellently.  Not from today, from ancient times.

In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayechi, Yosef the Tsaddik comes to his father Ya’akov with his two sons, Menashe and Efraim, who were born to him in Egypt, and he asks Ya’akov to bless them.  Ya’akov receives them with happiness, however he immediately sees with prophetic vision that in the future really wicked people will descend from the sons of Yosef:  “Then Israel saw Yoseph’s sons and he said, ‘Who are these?’” (Genesis, Chapter 48, Verse 8)  ‘Who are these?’ Ya’akov asks Yosef, intending to say as the commentators explain: “Who are these- they are not fitting for blessing?!”

Look, Ya’akov our forefather says, I look with prophetic vision and I’m shocked to reveal what will come from these youths in the future- Yeravam the son of Navat who sinned and caused others to sin, Achav, Yehu; how much evil with come from them in the future!  So tell me, who are these??  They are not fitting for blessing!  I see this difficult future, and I don’t find in myself the power to shower upon them good and bless them!

In truth, how can someone influence and give and serve Hashem and make progress, when we see such a dark, threatening and lustful horizon!?

Yosef the Tsaddik answers in his tremendous holiness and purity: “They are my sons whom God has given me here” (Verse 9) – Hashem gave me them.   They are good.  Nothing will change this truth, not even a prophetic vision.

Yosef the Tsaddik teaches us that is forbidden for us to act according to the forecasts of the future, even when you possess the power of prophecy and it is clear to you that the future will be bad (by the way, in our current reality, we do not have prophecy)… you must do what you can right now with purity and simplicity, to do the good which is required of you, to have a good influence without rational considerations and making a smart accounting, because “the main purpose and completion is to serve Hashem with complete innocence, without any wisdom… however in truth the main way to obtain the true purpose is only through faith and fulfilling the mitzvahs practically, to serve Hashem according to the Torah with simplicity and innocence, and through this itself we merit what we can merit…” (Likutei Moharan, second part, Torah 19)

Yes, despite everything you’ve been through and despite everything that seems to you that you’ll go through in the future, despite everything and because of everything- don’t loosen your grip on the good, from your belief in the good, from doing good and having a good influence with no boundary.

What about all of the bad that you see and experience in ‘the reality’?

The reality that you see and experience, is measured by you with minimal, external and sensory vessels which take into account only what is visible and not the internal experience, because this life has to it a tremendous, hidden depth with one simple truth: Hashem is good, and he created the world in order to bestow good.  Therefore, it has to be that everything is good, here and now, and it will be better and better also in the future.

It’s true, it is terrible to think that my descendants will be mistaken and led others astray, but don’t focus on how it seems from the outside.  At the depth, there is only good, even if in your eyes it seems completely evil.  If it is from Hashem- it is good.  This is ‘my sons’, with everything that means: they are beloved and good and likeable and worthwhile.  “They are my sons whom God has given me here”- ‘He showed him through this that this is God’s will, in this itself is hidden the hidden good.’

What is required of you is only to give trust, to know it is for sure good, to give yourself to the good and have a good influence- without listening to the weakening whispers in your ear of the scientific proofs and statistical facts and astrological forecasts and the numerological guesses and the genetics…

When Ya’akov our forefather sees the complete belief with no hesitation which Yosef has in his sons, even against a proof from Ya’akov’s prophetic vision which seems to be completely bad- immediately Ya’akov is appeased and he says: “Bring them to me, if you please, and I will bless them.” (Verse 9)

Ya’akov did not just bless them, but also if you merit to walk with this innocence, if you merit to strengthen the good in a simple way, without lessons learned from the past and silly considerations of the future, then immediately the abundance will arrive and the blessing will be upon you.







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