Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vayechi - "My People?"

The following is transcribed from a piece on Vayechi by Rav Moshe Feinstein. It's in Darash Moshe, published by Artscroll/Mesorah. I promise.

"I shall be gathered to my people." - Breishit 49:29
It is unclear to whom Jacob was referring with the word "people." He could not have meant the
Jewish people, since he himself was the first of them to die, and had he meant Abraham and Isaac he would have said, "I am about to be gathered to my fathers."
To understand what Jacob meant, I wish to suggest that even though a particular group may not be considered a distinct people in our world, in the world of truth a "people" is defined by the strength of its belief in Hashem and by the quantity and quality of merits accumulated through efforts in this world. Surely the tzadikim who had made themselves known in the world until that time, including Adam, Seth, Methuselah, Shem, Eber, and, of course, Abraham and Isaac, would constitute such a group.
This is what Jacob meant:"I shall be gathered to my people" - to the righteous ones who have a place together in the world of truth because they believed in Hashem, and therefore i wish to be buried with my fathers, Abraham and Isaac.

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