Results tagged “Mitzriam” from BNTI Blog

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Bereisheit Vayechi - 12

Genesis 47.28 - 50.26

Learning to Live with Adversity

A Taste Of Torah 

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By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Dean of Jewish Studies

B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC

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Bereisheit 47.28

וַיְחִי יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׁבַע עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וַיְהִי יְמֵי־יַעֲקֹב שְׁנֵי חַיָּיו שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וְאַרְבָּעִים וּמְאַת שָׁנָה1:1

And he, Yaakov lived in [the] land of Mitzriam / Egypt seventeen years. And the days of Yaakov, the years of his life were one hundred forty seven years. Bereisheit 47.28

Our parshat begins with the words, 'And lived He, Yaakov in the land of Mitzriam for seventeen years...' Bereisheit 47.28

Did Yaakov want to live outside of Eretz Canaan? No! Is Mitzriam where Yaakov wanted to live? No! Did Yaakov want to die in Mitzriam? No! Dear reader, our sages teach that when Yaakov journeyed to Mitzriam, the remaining five years of the famine immediately ended, upon his entrance into Mitzriam. That being the situation one may wonder / question, 'Then why did Yaakov stay in Mitzriam until his death?' Holy reader, the point is not complex. Even Yaakov the great tzaddik could not just leave Mitzriam and return to Eretz Canaan as he desired. The timing was not right. He had to remain in Mitzriam until his death.

The lesson here is that even though there are Jews who would desire to live in Eretz Yisroel, it may not be possible for them. And even though there are Jews who may strongly desire to live in an observant Jewish Community, it may not be possible for them. There are times that it is necessary to live just where we are. Then there are times that it may be necessary for one to actually move away from the land of Yisroel as Yaakov did. It may be necessary to move away from an observant Jewish community. One may wonder why. It may be for any number of reasons. However our point in this discussion is not to explore the why. Our point is to simply observe the words, Yaakov lived. Even though Yaakov preferred to live in Eretz Canaan he lived in Mitzriam. Even though Yaakov preferred to die in Eretz Canaan he lived in Mitzriam, knowing that he would die there.

Holy reader, there is a message in the words "Yaakov lived"! Yaakov was LIVING where he did not want to be. Yaakov was prospering in Mitzriam. Yaakov's children were greatly prospering in Mitzriam. They were not in Eretz Canaan. They were in Mitzriam. This is the point! Yaakov and his descendants lived and prospered in a place other than where they desired to be. This is the message to many of us. Do you think that Yoseif would have rather remained in Mitzriam or returned to Eretz Canaan immediately? It is obvious what Yoseif would have rather done. Yet he remained in Mitzriam. This is a message to those who would rather work somewhere other than where they are. This is a message to those who would rather reside somewhere else. Yaakov lived!

For many it is not possible to work in the position they desire. For many it is not possible to work in the location they desire. For many it is not possible to live in the country or city they would choose. For many they cannot live in the house they may dream of living in. For many we cannot attend the day school, high school, Bais Yaakov, Yeshiva, prep school, institution, college or university that we truly desire to attend. Yet even when all of these no's exist... when all of these impossibilities exist, understand this: Yaakov lived! We must gravitate to Yaakov's level. We must join Yaakov in living. We must exploit the area of life to the fullest regardless of where we are, where we work or what school we learn in. This is the introduction to Parshat Vayechi. Yaakov Lived!

Even if we lose our position... even if we lose our business or place of employment... even if we lose our family home... even if we lose our children, WE MUST LEARN TO CONTINUE LIVING!

Dear readers, many years ago I lost my position. I lost the family business'. I lost the family home. Then I lost my children and many relatives for awhile. I have been there. I was destitute. I was penniless, I was homeless. I was without transportation. It was not easy! Yet, I needed to learn how Yaakov Lived!

Noach lived during the flood. It was not easy! Avraham was tossed into the fiery furnace. It was not easy! Yitzchok / Isaac offered himself as the willing sacrifice. It was not easy! Yaakov lived with his evil father-in-law for twenty years. It was not easy! God, Please help us all!

When so much does not go the way we desire, we must learn how to live with adversity, affliction, bad luck, calamity, difficulty, distress, hardship, life's misfortunes, misery, pain, sorrow, suffering, trouble, tribulation. We must learn how to live without things we need or desire. Now, I am not saying we cannot have these things. If God Wills, we can have them. Yet, there may be times that we will be required to learn how to live with issues. Again, God please help us all!

When our country is attacked... when peace fails... when our business fails... when we face adversity we must learn how to live! This is what Yaakov taught us! This is what Yoseif taught us. This is what B'nei Yisroel taught us while living as slaves in Mitzriam.

The absolute importance of us understanding the first two words of Parshat Vayechi, 'Yaakov Lived' is so important to us living and thriving. Even though Yaakov did not want to reside in the land of Mitzriam, Yaakov Lived! Even though Yaakov did not care to expire in Mitzriam, for seventeen years Yaakov Lived. Yaakov taught us the importance of living in whatever situation we find ourselves. The Gematria of Vayechi Yaakov {Yaakov Lived} is 216.

Vayechi Yaakov {Yaakov Lived}

ו6 י10 ח8 י10 י10 ע70 ק100 ב2 = 216

Now, holy reader, the point to Vayechi Yaakov {Yaakov Lived} is not just the fact that Yaakov lived but HOW Yaakov lived. Mystically we observe that Yaakov had a special peace about himself. Yaakov had a special place of peace within himself that he withdrew to for renewal, and to receive encouragement, strength, guidance and assistance. One could say that Yaakov lived within a protected place. This protective place is revealed to us in Bereisheit 35.7 where Ha Torah says, וַיִּקְרָא לַמָּקוֹם and he called to [the] place אֵל בֵּית־אֵל God is [the] House of God, i.e. There is a Spiritual place which is called the House of God. God dwells there. It is a Spiritual place. It is not a physical house. So Mystically through  בְּרוּחַ the Spirit we reach out לַמָּקוֹם to the Place Where God Dwells in Spirit.


Bih Ru Ach  - In Spirit / Through Spirit

ב 2 ר200 ו6 ח8 = 216

Bereisheit 35.7

וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא לַמָּקוֹם אֵל בֵּית־אֵל כִּי שָׁם נִגְלוּ אֵלָיו הָאֱלֹהִים בְּבָרְחוֹ מִפְּנֵי אָחִיו1:1

And He built [בנה] there [שם] an altar and he called to [the] place, God, House of God, for their God was revealed [נגלה] to him when he fled from his brother.

The point that is necessary to make here is that Yaakov's life frequently faced adversity, affliction, calamity, difficulty, distress, hardship, life's misfortunes, misery, pain, sorrow, suffering, trouble, tribulation... EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN.

Ha Torah records the difficulty Yaakov faced from the moment of conception until his departing. When Yaakov spoke with Pharaoh he said, '...few and troublesome have been the days of my life...,' Bereisheit 47.9.

Lah Maw Kohm {to the place}

ל30 מ40 ק100 ו6 ם40 = 216

Ha Torah credits Yaakov and Yoseif as men who lived amidst great adversity. We observe this in two ways.

First, Vayechi {lived} refers to both Yaakov and to Yoseif. Yoseif was seventeen when sold into slavery, Bereisheit 37.2. That means Yoseif lived all but seventeen years of his life in the land of Mitzriam. Yaakov lived in the land of Mitzriam, which would become the land of slavery, for seventeen years, Bereisheit 47.9,28.

Vayechi {Lived}

ו6 י10 ח8 י10 = 34

34 = Yaakov lived 17 years in Mitzriam, Yoseif lived 17 outside of Mitzriam. Together they represent 34.

So we see through this that Yoseif was the one sent to prepare the way for the survival of his family. Dear one, this may be your destiny in life. Maybe HaShem will use you to bring back those that you love to God. Maybe HaShem will choose you to be the one to return to an observant life in advance of other family members. You may be disowned like Yoseif. You may be sold into slavery. You may suffer for a while. Your resources may be limited for a while. You may lose your position, business, place of employment, family home and even your children for a while. If this were to happen, God Forbid, try to take Yaakov and Yoseif's directive. WE MUST LEARN TO CONTINUE LIVING!

Yoseif and Yaakov are our examples of how to live. Both left home with nothing. Both were separated from those they loved. Both became wealthy over 22 years. Thank God! When we face adversity lets try to live as best as we can like Yaakov and his son, Yoseif. May HaShem be blessed forever!

Dear readers, when so much does not go the way we desire we must learn how to live with adversity!


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