Ya’akov lived in the Land of Egypt for 17 years; the days of Ya’akov’s life were 147 years (Bereishis 47:28)
It seemed that Ya’akov could handle living on the run from his vengeful brother Eisav. He seemed to even be able to cope with hiding out for twenty years with his double-crossing Uncle Lavan. Even losing his beloved wife Rachel upon returning to the land of his fathers did not drain Ya’akov of his purpose to live. However, losing Yosef just about did, and regaining him physically and spiritually made all the worry and suffering disappear once it was all said and done, or so it seems.
However as Rashi points out on this posuk, the happy ending wasn’t as happy as it ought to have been:
The parsha of Veyechi is closed (there is no space between last week and this week’s parsha in the Torah).
The reason chazal tell us, is because once Ya’akov Avinu died, the eyes and hearts of Israel became closed since it signaled the beginning of the shibud (servitude). Another explanation is that Ya’akov wanted to reveal the Keitz, (end) to his sons but it was closed to them. (Rashi)
The end of what, and are they really two different reasons?
What Rashi is referring to is found in the Talmud:
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: “And Ya’akov called his sons and told them, ‘Gather around and I will tell you what will happen to you in the End-of-Days.'” (Bereishis 49:1). Ya’akov wanted to reveal the End-of-Days to his sons, but the Divine Presence left him. So he said, “Perhaps, G-d forbid, there is something unfit from my bed (i.e., a spiritually unworthy child), just as Yishmael was born to Avraham, and Eisav to my father Yitzchak?” His sons answered, “Shema Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad (Hear O Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is One): just as in your heart only (G-d) is One, so too in our hearts, there is only One.” At that moment, Ya’akov said, “Boruch Shem kevod Malchuso l’olam va-ed (Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom forever)!” (Pesachim 56a)
So we come to understand that Ya’akov need not assume, that it was his sons who were responsible for the loss of prophecy about the End-of-Days. Perhaps, in the end, Heaven just didn’t want to reveal this “classified information” to them, even though they were perfectly righteous individuals.
Here we are taught to have an attentive ear and to “listen to Israel our father”.
Chazak Chazak V’nitcahzek.
Rabbi Gabe Elias