So, most of the times I am asking myself, no doubt as many do, what can I say that is different from other sayings, especially knowing that such giants as R ASHI, RAMBAM, RAMBAN, RASHBI, etc. said everything there was to say? Who am I to open my mouth?
And yet, I dare to hope that my outlook, however limited, may be different. Maybe, it’s because I am a woman living in the year 5777?
When Yaakov calls for Yosef understanding that his time of departure from this earth is near, right after ensuring that Yosef’s sons are counted among his own, he says:
ז וַאֲנִי בְּבֹאִי מִפַּדָּן, מֵתָה עָלַי רָחֵל בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּעוֹד כִּבְרַת-אֶרֶץ, לָבֹא אֶפְרָתָה; וָאֶקְבְּרֶהָ שָּׁם בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָת, הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם.
|7 And as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died unto me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some way to come unto Ephrath; and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath–the same is Beth-lehem.’|
At the time of one’s death, one wants to ensure his legacy, his loved ones well being, but most of all he thinks about those dearest to him.
Yaakov talking about Rachel, almost unexpectedly here, right after speaking to Yosef, and right before giving brachot to all his sons, reminds me of my own father. In his last days, he was surrounded by the girls of his life – wife, daughter, granddaughters with little great-granddaughters worrying for him at home. After making sure there was time and talk with all of us, all he wanted was to spend every minute left with my mother, making sure and knowing for certain that we, I mostly, will not leave her or cause her any additional worry.
Having witnessed the last days of a few very close people, I am always in awe of the moral strength that knowing of the close end brings to a person. Not whining (that’s what I would do, I think), no anger, no accusations, no questions of “why”, but concern for others.