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(5742) "Jacob attempted to reveal to his sons the End of days but the Shechinah withdrew from him." (Tal. Pes 56a, Rashi 49:1)
- the benefit of revealing the End  


1. The Sages state on the verse (Gen. 49:1): “Jacob called for his sons and said, ‘Gather around and I will tell you what will happen to you in the end of days’”:

“Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the end of days (Keitz – the end of the exile) yet the Divine Presence departed from him”

This is puzzling:

It is certain that, with his wish to reveal the Keitz, Jacob wanted to imbue

(not just to show that that he knew the Keitz, but rather)

a benefit to the Shevatim or for the Yidden that descended afterwards.

However, what benefit could there be if it the Keitz was revealed to Yidden at that time?

On the contrary:

If Jacob had revealed the Keitz, which would take place thousands of years later (as we see now, that Moshiach has still not come) – not only would it have not brought a benefit, but on the contrary, it would have caused the Yidden a frightful despondency and depression!

The commentators answer, that Jacob wanted to reveal the Keitz just to his sons, for “they were Tzaddikim, and he trusted them that even though the Keitz was much later, that they would not abandon G-d”. Yet G-d did not want even this – “in order that they not inform their descendants and (cause) many to have hopelessness knowing that it would be far into the future”.

But this reason is not straightforward:

1.       The concern that “they would inform their descendants” (if Jacob were to reveal the Keitz to all of his twelve sons), is something that very reasonable to understand – therefore how could Jacob even think, at the outset, to reveal the Keitz to his sons?


2.       Primarily: this (explanation) does not answer the main question – What good and benefit would be accomplished by revealing the Keitz to his “sons” so much so that: “Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the end of days”?

2. One must also understand:

The Sages have two opinions (in the matter):

1.       The Keitz was hidden even from Jacob, as it states in the Midrash:

“He wanted to reveal to them the Keitz but it was covered up (niskasa) from him” (it states similarly in the Midrash in the beginning of the Parsha: “He wanted etc. but it was hidden (nistam) from him”.

2.       It was not hidden from Jacob. But nevertheless, he did not reveal it to his sons.

(And one could say that this is the reason for the precise wording in the Talmud: “He wished to reveal the Keitz and the Divine Presence (Shechina) departed from him” - not just that “(the Keitz) was removed from him. For according to the Talmud, the Keitz was, indeed, not hidden from him. It is just that the Divine Presence departed from him indicating that it was desired that he not reveal the Keitz, and therefore, he did not do so.

Or one could say (that the meaning of: “the Shechina departed from him”) is that the word Shechina is from the root: “And I will dwell among them” – meaning the ability to “Mashchin/cause to dwell” (and draw down) the revelation of the Keitz down here (l’matah) (to his sons))

One must understand:

Since it is understood according to all opinions, that G-d is able to withhold Jacob from revealing the Keitz to his sons even if Jacob, indeed, knows the Keitz – why therefore (according to the first opinion) was it indeed “hidden” from Jacob?

3. From all of the aforementioned it is understood, that both opinions – whether to reveal or not reveal the Keitz, can bring a benefit to the Yidden (in their spiritual Avodah).

And moreover:

Since Jacob is one of the Patriarchs, (which are the vehicle (merkava) .. and made themselves a vehicle only for G-d’s will, all the days of their lives), one must say that since “Jacob wished to reveal etc.”

(even up to the moment where “the Divine Presence departed from him”),

It must have been in accordance with the Divine Will, to which Jacob was a vehicle to, even then.

And the reason that G-d ultimately did not desire that Jacob reveal the Keitz, is because in that situation, it demanded that the conduct (and also the benefit which derives from it) be that the Keitz not be revealed.

And accordingly there are two opinions:

·         According to one opinion, the benefit also had to be for Jacob himself (and therefore, “the Keitz was covered (also) from him”.

·         According to the second opinion, this was an aspect that affected just the Shevatim. Therefore the Keitz was not hidden from Jacob himself.

4. One could say that the explanation in this follows the explanation of the Sages in the verse:

“You will bring them and plant them on the mountain of Your inheritance, the place for Your habitation, which You, G-d have made etc.”

Thus if they had merited it, G-d would have then (at the time of the Exodus) brought the Yidden to the “place for Your habitation, which You, G-d have made”. For in “G-d’s building/binyana d’Kudsha Brich Hu”, destruction/Churban (and Galut) is not applicable. Therefore the redemption from the Galut of Mitzrayim would have (also) been the true and complete Geulah which will have no other Galut after it.

It comes out, that the Keitz, in the manner of their standing in that time (“if they had merited it”) was at the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim.

Accordingly one can explain the statement: “Jacob wished to reveal . . the end of days”, that he wanted to reveal, in the state that they were then – the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim.

And even though the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim was an established and known time –

(for) G-d promised Abraham that: “your descendants will be foreigners in a land that is not theirs etc. for)

 four hundred years . . afterwards they will leave with great wealth – therefore what did Jacob need to reveal?

One could (thus) say:

The Yidden knew that after the “four hundred years”, they would leave Mitzrayim. But that it would be an everlasting Geulah (“if they had merited it”) that will have no other Galut after it.  Jacob, however, wanted to reveal that – the Exodus from Mitzrayim would be the Keitz (final end to Galut).

Therefore, one could therefore understand Jacob‘s intent in wanting to reveal the Keitz to his sons. In hearing the good news, that the “End of Days” is very imminent, (he hoped) that they would endeavor to remain in a state of “meriting it”, being extremely careful that there not be any aspect of “(perhaps it was caused by)” sin, which would cause that the Keitz be delayed, G-d forbid.

5. This explanation, however, is not sufficient:

At the time of Jacob‘s histalkus, around two hundred years remained until the Exodus. Therefore if the Keitz was revealed to the Yidden of that generation, it would have caused depression etc. For since, according to nature, one lives “one hundred and twenty years”, the Keitz would not have arrived in their lifetime in this world – thus the question remains.

Therefore, one could say that Jacob‘s intent was that:

When Yidden know that the Keitz is dependent on their being worthy (zachu), as aforementioned, they will increase in their “worthiness/zachu” (Avodat Hashem) and this increase will hasten the Geulah, that it should come before the set time of the Keitz, as the Sages state: “If they merit it - I will hasten it (achishena).

This is comparable to Yetzias Mitzrayim itself:

One of the reasons that the Galut of Mitzrayim only lasted two hundred and thirty years – and not four hundred years as was set at the Covenant Between the Parts – is because the hardship of the servitude completed the remainder (of the four hundred years).

It is therefore understood that just as the increase in the servitude (the hardship of the servitude) hastened the Geulah – so too (and how much more so) would this have happened through an increase of merits (zachu) in good.

6. However notwithstanding (the aforementioned), “The Divine Presence departed from him” , and did not allow Jacob to reveal the Keitz.

The explanation in this is:

The completeness of man’s Avodah (Sheleimus HaAvodah), in which he becomes worthy (“zachu”) is when the Avodah is “the work that one must do” (melachtecha asher ta'aseh). This is similar to the statement of the Sages: “One would rather have one Kab (measure) due to his own efforts versus (receiving) nine kabim from his friend (without effort)”. And even though for every Avodah, one must rely on the help of G-d (sayata d’shemaya) as the Sages state: “Without G-d helping him etc.” – there nevertheless are two manners:

1.       The help and aid from Above is felt by the person during and in his Avodah. For example – the Avodah in auspicious times (Ais Ratzon) (e.g. the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah where G-d is “Found . . where He is near” or during Shabbat and Yom Tov, in general).

2.       The help is the reason which causes (and aids) the person’s subsequent Avodah. However, during the (current) Avodah (itself) the aid is hidden, so that it appears as if the Avodah is of his own effort. This is like the various Bat Kol’s (Divine Voice) which arouse in a person, thoughts of Teshuva and, which in turn, effect an increase in Torah and Avodah.

And this is the reason why “the Divine Presence departed from him”:

 If Jacob would have revealed the Keitz to his sons, their increase in Avodat HaShem,

(and thus by knowing the Keitz, they would have ascertained that they stand in a condition of ever-increasing worthiness (“zaxhu”))

would have not been “Kab Shelo”, an innovation due to their own efforts.

The help from Above (Ezer Milma’ala) would have been “mixed in” (areingemisht) (the help being the knowledge of the Keitz).

Therefore “the Divine Presence departed from him” in order that the Avodah of the Yidden be in a manner of lacking the Divine Presence (siluk HaShechina and hiding the Keitz), thus ensuring that the Avodah is of their own efforts.

Jacob wanted the going out of Galut, to be hastened as much as possible – yet it is possible that there would be a lacking in the completeness of Avodah. Notwithstanding, however, they would have gone out of Galut earlier,

 (and especially from that land of immorality/Ervas HaAretz)

and enter the true and complete Geulah.

One could say that this is the reason for the precise wording “Jacob wanted/bikeish to reveal” – which is a phrase denoting a request (bakasha). Jacob requested from G-d that the Keitz be revealed, in order to give the Yidden a help in their Avodah and to ensure that the Geulah come quicker.

G-d, however, wanted that the Geulah be at the epitome of completeness – and this is connected to that which the Avodah of Yidden is complete. Therefore “the Divine Presence departed from him”. For this allows for a greater completeness in Avodah, as aforementioned.

7. A deeper aspect in this is:

The reason that the completeness of Geulah comes through the Avodah of Yidden in a condition where the Divine presence is removed (siluk HaShechinah) and consequently, is of their own effort, as aforementioned – is not because of an auxiliary (zeitige) connection to the manner of Avodah with respect to Geulah. But rather, because specifically in this (type of) Avodah, the “Keitz” of a (an eternal) Geulah (which has no other Galut afterwards) is dependent.

In order for the Geulah to be eternal, without change – the Avodah of the Yidden (which brings the Geulah) must also be similar – namely in a manner of “I do not change”, without changes.

Therefore, when the Avodah is performed because of help from Above and not due to one’s own efforts, there is consequently no “eternality” (nitzchius) in the Avodah, because if the help from Above would be removed, it is possible for a person to decline from his level, G-d forbid.

The Avodah is a “thing which endures” (davar haMiskayeim), only when it comes from an “awakening from below” (isarusa d’ltata) (through one’s own effort). It therefore can bring the enduring (everlasting) Geulah (Geulah Kiyemes), which will have no other Galut after it.

8. According to this, however, an explanation is required for the opposite side:

What was Jacob‘s reasoning from the outset, in that he "wanted" to reveal the Keitz to his sons, when this would have caused an (increase in) Avodah which is not a fitting reason to the true Geulah?

One could say the reason in this is (according to Chassidut):

It is known that the level of Jacob is – Atzilut which is a world of unity and “after refinement” (acharei haBirur). Therefore since Jacob’s (level) is already after refinement (especially being close to his histalkus, when he was at the epitome of his completeness) - he had already ended the completeness of his Avodah, and he already attained the level of “Kab Shelo” (Avodah through his own effort).

Therefore the revelation of the Keitz only effected an addition – an addition to the completeness of his Avodah.

And because of this reason, Jacob wanted to reveal the Keitz (also) to his sons, believing his sons to be also at that level. And as the Talmud continues, that when Jacob saw that “the Divine Presence departed from him” (and he was not able to reveal the Keitz to his sons), he immediately said: “perhaps, G-d forbid, there is an impurity in my family (b’mitasi pasul)”.

According to this one can also understand the two aforementioned opinions (Par 2) whether the Keitz was (also) hidden from Jacob or not.

·         The Midrash states that the Keitz “was hidden (niskasa/nistam) from him”. For G-d wanted that Jacob also feel the quality of Avodah with one’s own effort, and therefore teach his sons this quality in their Avodah, by not knowing the Keitz.

·         The Talmud, however states: “(only) the Divine Presence departed from him” and not the Keitz (as aforementioned there) - For Jacob had already attained this completeness and quality, which would be accomplished by his son’s not knowing the Keitz.

9. Even though G-d ordained that Jacob not reveal the Keitz to his sons –

Since “Jacob wanted to reveal” it,

                while being a vehicle to the Supernal Will (as aforementioned par 2),

it is understood that his “wanting. . . to reveal the End of Days”, was (also then) in accordance with the Supernal Will.

And even more so: Since the request of a Tzaddik is never refused completely (Eino chozeres reikom), it certainly had an effect here in this world. Additionally, since this is stated in the Torah (from the word to teach/hora’ah), it is an eternal lesson for all generations.

And this is similar to what is found by Moshe Rabbeinu. That through his request: “and I pleaded etc. Please, allow me to cross over and see etc.”, this caused that the Yidden were able to have a sight into G-dliness – which was not felt.

(For the Yidden at that time only merited the level of hearing, as it states: “And now listen Yisroel”)

Nevertheless, his request effected that the Yidden should have the aspect of sight, at least, at the transcendental level (makif) (and by special people – even at an inner level (Pnimiyut).

Similarly, one could say the same concerning Jacob:

Jacob’s “wanting to reveal the Keitz” effected by Yidden that they be able to prepare for the revelation of the Keitz in a transcendental manner – Avodat HaShem in a manner of freedom (cheirut) from the (subjugation) of the nations of the world and from the evil inclination (and by special people – even at an inner level (Pnimiyut).

And one could say that this is the reason that many Sages (Gedolei Yisroel) (such as R’ Saadia Goan, Rambam etc.) calculated the Keitz.

10. Therefore, it is also a lesson for all Yidden for all generations – that there must be the aspect of “wanting . . . to reveal . . . the end of Days”. A Yid must want and plead that the end of Days be revealed. For this itself (the request and the contemplation in this) gives an aid and great reinforcement in Avodat HaShem.

For we see in actuality. When one says to Yidden that “Moshiach is coming imminently (aut aut kumt Moshiach) and “We want Moshiach now” – this effects a diligence and increase in Avodat HaShem, and an extra diligence in preventing any aspect of “(perhaps it was caused by)” sin, which would, G-d forbid , cause that delay of Moshiach’s coming.

And in our times there is another aspect:

The Torah (Torat Emet) says that: “kalu kol hakitzin” - all the designated 'ends' have come and gone - and the only thing on which it depends now is repentance. The Talmud states plainly that the Keitz has already come a long time ago (der keitz is shoin fun lang da).

We must just have the “turning” (Shaita Chada - from the root to turn), the turning (ker) – of Teshuvah which will bring the “Miyad hein nigalin” – that we will be immediately redeemed, immediately mamosh – now – in our time.

mSichas Asarah b’Tevet Shabbat Parshat Vayechi 5741


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