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Parshat VaYechi

By: Rav Judah Mischel

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"Yakov called for his sons and said: 'Gather together and I will tell you what will happen to you at the End of Days... Sons of Yakov gather round and listen; Listen to Yisrael your father"

In the dramatic, final moments of Yakov Avinu's life, our forefather gathers his children and delivers a timeless, parting messagethatremainsrelevant today. Instead of having a few quiet,private moments with each of his children, Yakov Avinu makes the point of blessing, rebuking and addressing all of the shevatimpublicly,and infront of each other.Each oneof theshevatim not only heard an assesment of their own strengths, weaknesses and personal role in Klal Yisrael, but alsobecame aware oftheir siblings' specific tafkid as well.

According the the students of the Holy Ba'al Shem Tov,the double language used by Yakov Avinu in ourParsha to instruct the shevatim to "gather together"-"HeAsfu"/ "HiKabtzu" - stresses the fact that Yakov Avinu wanted to use this powerful moment toinstill in his children, and in all of us a critical message:that the individual contribution of every member of Klal Yisrael is significant, and that no one Shevet, person or group is more important than another.
It seems thatYakov Avinu was concerned that there would be feelings of superiority among some of his children and among the tribes, and therefore the Torah records thesestatements with clarity and in great detail.Yakov Avinu's final, and perhaps most significant directive for his children and their decendants isthat every single one of us has our own special and unique Avoda and role to fulfill, and that in order to accomplish our own personal goals and tafkid, we must value, respect and appreciate others' contribution to Klal Yisrael as well.

According to Rashi:" " - in gathering his children together, Yakov Avinu intended on revealing the "End of Days"- when Mashiach would arrive, but was unable to reveal the specific time-frame.Themessage however, is clear: in order for Am Yisrael to be redeemed,must heed Yakov Avinu's instructions, andvalue each and every Jew- and their unique contribution to the whole of the Jewish People.Only then can we be complete, and merit the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.