Vayechi- The end of an Era

As heard from Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein on Torah Anytime

This year Parshas Vayechi fell out on the same week as Asarah B’Tevet.  Asarah B’Tevet is all about remembering beginnings and being aware of their importance and how it affects the present and the future. Parshas Vayechi is about what’s in a name and hakarot hatov (having thanks/gratitude). How are the two connected?  When we look at the names of Yosef’s children, Menashe’s name means  “Hashem has comforted me and made me forget where I came from and my family, along with all the trials that came with them”.  Where as Ephraim’s name means “Hashem has given me success in a foreign country that is not my own, and has allowed me to carry out my father’s legacy in this strange place”. We learn from this that Ephraim sat and learned Torah. It is because of this sign of hakarot hatov that Yaackov blessed Ephraim with his right hand the stronger of the two.

The tenth of Tevet is about the first breaching of the walls of Yerushalayim it was a symbol of what was yet to come, it was a chance to do teshuva. Even more so today, it is a reminder of what happens when we don’t follow the Torah, when we don’t have achdus among ourselves. It’s a forebearer of the coming of Mashiach, but only if we pay attention to the lessons that we are supposed to be learning from it.

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