Yeshivat Reishit

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Yaakov’s Blessings

By: Dovid Walz

ALUMNI ON THE PARSHA Yaakov’s Blessings by Dovid Walz In this weeks parsha, Yaakov gathers his 12 children to deliver them their own brachot. Yaakov gathers them, instead of meeting them individually. He insists on meeting them all at the same time. We see this through the language of “heiasfu” which emphasizes that they should gather as one. Yaakov isn’t always handing out brachot. We've see him criticize his children in the past as well. One would imagine that this could lead to mortification and embarrassment were Yaakov to criticize them again, especially in front of all of their brothers. Why doesn’t Yaakov just give them their brachot individually and share whatever it is he wants to share with them in a private matter? Sefer Bereishit is all about selection. Hashem selected the Jewish people in Sefer Breishit to show His words to the rest of the world. Yitzchak is selected by Avraham and then Yitzchak later selects Yaakov. Therefore, the brothers assumed that the selections would continue. That might have been the reason for the strife between the brothers and Yosef as they might have felt that Yosef was the one being selected by Yaakov. Yaakov gathers all the sons together to show that the process of selection has concluded and he has selected all 12 of them to become the leaders of the Jewish people. The Torah clearly relates that each brother received his own, personalized blessing. Yet, the Midrah teaches that Yaakov blessed all of his sons with the same blessing! How can we reconcile this contradiction? The answer is that now that they exist as a unit and they have all been selected, they can pool together all of their talents and combine each individual’s strengths. They must put all of their differences to the side and realize by working together and pooling together each ones talents, this will make them all the beneficiary of each others traits and brachot. This is the significance in Yaakov blessing each of them in front of the other. We, too can learn a valuable lesson from this. We all know that each one of us is different. There is so much diversity among us. Some like learning chassidus and some Gemara and some Tanach. Some like playing music while others enjoy playing ball. In order for us to bring out the best, we must combine all of our strengths and all of our likenesses and teach each other and help each other grow. And with this we can bring Hashem’s words to the rest of the world together.