Chazak-Revealing the Depths of Boundaries
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VAYECHI - SHABBAT CHAZAK -
REVEALING THE DEPTHS OF BOUNDARIES
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Vayechi, which concludes
the life of Yaakov, Yosef and Yaakov’s other sons in Egypt and
is the prelude to the servitude that is discussed in next week’s
portion. It also concludes the book of Breishit (Genesis).
The Shabbat in which we conclude a book of the Torah is called
Shabbat Chazak. This is because at the conclusion of the reading
the entire congregation says “Chazak Chazak V’nitchazaik” (Be
strong, be strong and let us all be strong). This is because the
Torah is the source of our strength and when we conclude one
book and prepare to begin the next, we are fortified.
The timing of Shabbat Chazak is very apropos. This Thursday
was the tenth of Tevet, which was the beginning of the siege
upon Jerusalem that resulted in the destruction of the Temple.
The Torah portion deals with the passing of Yaakov, the last of
the forefathers, and of Yosef, who sustained and protected the
Jewish people in Mitzrayim. The servitude only began when all of
Yaakov’s sons passed on. We certainly need some encouragement!
Shabbat Chazak arrives, and gives us a triple measure of
strength to go forward.
The “strength” of Shabbat Chazak is in the portion itself.
The portion begins Yaakov lived in Egypt seventeen years. The
Baal Haturim explains that these were the best years of his
life. Seventeen in Hebrew is the numerical value of Tov which
means good. Kaballah teaches that there is a divine name Alef
Hey Vav-Hey formed from the first letters of the Hebrew words Et
Hashamayim V’et Haaretz (the heavens and the earth) in the
narrative of creation. The numerical value of this name is
seventeen. During these seventeen years Yaakov revealed the
divine sparks of creation even in the depravity of Egypt. This
empowered his children to survive and overcome the exile.
This is also reflected in the beginning of the portion. When
Yoseph brought his sons to Yaakov to bless them, Yaakov gave the
primary blessing to the younger son, Ephraim. Ephraim’s name is
based on being fruitful in the land of affliction: the ability
to illuminate and elevate the exile.
Before Yaakov’s passing, he gathered together his children.
Rashi explains that he sought to reveal the “Keitz,” the secret
of redemption. The simple meaning is that he wanted to tell them
when and how the exile would end, but Hashem didn’t allow him to
do so. In a deeper sense, in the words “revealing the Keitz”
lays the secret to succeeding in exile.
The word Keitz means end, or boundary. Everything in this
world is finite, and thus we perceive it as having a Keitz.
Hashem is infinite. Revealing the Keitz means reaching deeper
into each part of the world and into each moment in time and
finding its infinite aspect. Every time we do a Mitzvah with an
object, we reveal its infinite side, revealing its Keitz.
The word Keitz refers to the end of exile, the redemption.
By seeing in every trial and tribulation that it is only a
preparation, a step toward the final redemption, we reveal the
Keitz. The conclusion of the portion is the passing of Yosef.
Before he passed, he informed his brothers that Hashem would
redeem the Jewish people from Egypt and requested that they
should bring his bones to be buried in Israel, where they are
currently interred in Sh’chem. As such, the event of his passing
was the proclamation of the redemption and his very casket was a
constant reminder of Hashem’s promise.
More so, when in every act we do we seek to hasten
Moshiach’s coming, and we constantly pray for his arrival and
improve ourselves and the world in anticipation of his arrival,
we reveal the Keitz. By revealing the Keitz as Yaakov has taught
us, this Shabbat will be a true source of strength.
The Rebbe has informed us that we are in the throes of the
imminent redemption. May Hashem reveal the final Keitz
immediately and true peace will reign throughout the world with
the coming of Moshiach!
Dedicated in memory of Shmuel Naman Alibayof. May
his soul be bound in the bond of eternal life with Hashem and
may he intercede for his loving family for tremendous blessings.
A Great New Year’s Resolution!
The Mitzvah of Tzedakah is
a powerful conduit for Hashem’s blessings. Steady giving brings
Hashem’s blessings for stability.
The Friendship Circle is a wonderful organization that helps
handicapped and special needs children. In order to have the
blessing of charity corresponding to the days of the year, many
people have begun supporting the Friendship Circle with a dollar
per day. In order to take part in this wonderful Mitzvah, please
send payment information to
Your ongoing support will improve the quality of life of these
very special children. For further information on the Friendship
Circle please view http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5DVLDwntvo
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400 East Shore Rd.
Great Neck NY 11024
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