Thursday, December 26, 2013

406 - Vayechi

Rav Wolbe (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 55) cites a fascinating Zohar on this week's parsha. The Torah describes Yaakov's passing with a most interesting term: "And the days of the death of Yisrael drew near" (Bereishis 47, 29). The Zohar asks the obvious question. Doesn't a person die on a single day; more precisely at a single moment? What does the Torah mean when it says that his "days" of death drew near? 

The Zohar answers as follows. When the time comes for a person to pass from this world all his days are reckoned and calculated. Each day that is found meritorious is brought near to Hashem while those that lack merit are isolated. The days of the righteous described by the Torah as "drawing near" refer to the days that have a connection with the Creator. Each and every one of their days was utilized properly, and therefore, they are all found worthy of being presented to Hashem. 

This idea is complemented by another statement of Chazal. The Medrash (Shemos Rabba 25, 13) tells us that Hashem declared, "I gave you the Torah in order that you should engage in it 'yom yom' - each and every day, as it states, 'Praiseworthy is the one who is diligently at my door yom yom', therefore, I will satisfy your hunger with the heavenly man yom yom - each and every day, as it states, 'And the nation went out and collected dvar yom b'yomo'". The days were not given to us as a means of studying Torah. Rather, the Torah was given to us as a means of properly filling our days! Each person is allotted a specific number of days which he must fill. Days marked by the performance of mitzvos are counted, while those that are marred by aveiros are discarded. A wasted day is not merely a lost opportunity for growth; it is in a certain sense a failure, since it is a day lost for all of eternity. Yet, the opposite is also true. A day filled with Torah study, mitzvos, chessed or tzeddakah, is a not only a vehicle for personal growth; it is a day that was utilized for its true purpose and as such, it will be accredited to one's eternal account in the World to Come!

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