In this weeks edition of Shmoozing with Shapiro, freshmen Talia Herssein and Joseph Levi ask Mrs. Schapiro about her thoughts on Parsha Vayechi.
Talia Herssein: What is something interesting you learned about this week's Parsha, Parshat Vayechi?
Mrs. Schapiro: This Parsha talks about the life of Yaakov. The last seventeen years of his life were spent in Mitzrayim, reuniting with his children and Yosef. Before he was going to die he wanted to give a blessing to each of the tribes. In the pasuk that opens up the blessing, it says that Yaakov wanted to tell his children what will happen in the future and when Mashiach will come. Just as he was going to share, the nevuah went blank. Yaakov realized that Hashem did not want him to share the information about when Mashiach will come. Why is that? Yaakov really wanted to reveal to them when Mashiach would come but he lost the prophecy. Yaakov hoped that if he would tell his children when Mashiach would come it would help them make it happen and see an end to exile and tragedy. The Lubavitcher Rebbe has an idea. If the children of Yaakov would hear that Mashiach would not come within sight of their lifetime, it would be discouraging and they would not care to help it come. He wanted the Jewish people to live a life of hope and not discouragement. It would cause despair and a lack of effort. The second reason is as follows. If they would know that Mashiach would come at a certain time, and they would not need to make it happen faster, then people would not have the joy of working to reach a goal. The human being needs the joy and motivation of making it happen. When you work hard and make something happen, then you feel a sense of accomplishment. Although Yaakov had a good intention, Hashem did not want the Jews in despair, and it would make the Jews feel that they do not need to work and bring ownership to bring Mashiach. Shabbat Shalom!