Vayechi is the last portion of the Book of Genesis and provides us with the energy of manifestation. The Five Books of Moses (Torah) span five levels from potential to action and include the stories of creation, the exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the journey of the Jewish people with Moses to Israel. Vayechi is the final portion of Genesis, the seed-level book of creation. As the last portion, Yayechi brings everything that preceded it into harmony and things we’ve been working on since Rosh Hashanah (when we began this book), should begin to materialize.
The portion begins with a reference to Jacob who was finally settled with his family after finding out that his son Joseph was alive and serving as the second-in command for Pharaoh. It says, “And he lived in Egypt for 17 years.” It was only now, following a challenging life of fighting with his brother Esau, being tricked into marrying the wrong woman, working for his father-in-law for seven extra years and then losing his son that he can finally “live”. Even though he was a very pure person, the commentators state that Jacob was disconnected from the Light and a higher level of consciousness prior to this time. Often when we are in a negative situation, it is difficult to see that everything is going to work out for the best. It is only when we break through our negative thoughts and feelings that are we able to connect to our higher selves where everything is possible.The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which means to squeeze, limit or constrict. It represents a place of physicality, slavery and negativity; exile from the Light. The Zohar explains that a true spiritual person knows the darkest places in life are the greatest from where to grow and create miracles. The place with the least amount of spirituality can serve as a perfect place to rise up and reveal our full spiritual potential. The most elevated souls – Jacob, Joseph and Moses all had revelations in Egypt. With this understanding, it makes sense how Jacob could now finally “live” once he got to Egypt.
The portion continues and Jacob asks Joseph to swear that he will bury him with the other Patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Jacob knew the importance of being buried with the other Patriarchs and realized that only by making him swear, would Joseph take it seriously and push against any potential interference to fulfill this wish. The Kabbalists teach us that there is a three-column system at work in the universe which is based upon right, left and center – also known as mercy, judgement and beauty or balance. Only when all three attributes are in-place can we have complete harmony and unity. The same holds true for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as each represents one of the three columns of energy described as sephirot (Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet). The Ari states that Jacob was as holy as Abraham and Isaac, yet had a greater sense of balance – tempering the mercy of Abraham and the judgement of Isaac – creating perfect balance. It was not until the passing of Jacob that we experienced this balance among the Patriarchs and the manifestation of such balance throughout the world. We can further see how Abraham had a conflict with his sons Isaac and Ishmael and Isaac had conflict with his sons, Jacob and Esau. When we finally get to Jacob we see how his sons were ultimately righteous and how he had the ability to temper love and fear. This allowed Jacob to truly become, as Israel, the father of the whole nation.
The Kabbalists also share that unlike every other portion in the Torah, there is no space between Vayechi and last week’s portion of Vayigash. This absence of space reflects and points to the concept of unity which is revealed in this portion upon the passing of Jacob and the creation of balance between mercy and judgment. When Jacob knows his time has come, he gathers all of his sons around him to be blessed. Each son is given a different blessing that reflects a diverse and distinct set of responsibilities. It is important to note how he provided the blessing to each son individually, but in front of all the others. Although the blessings were given individually, they were part of an overall sense of unity with the 12 sons or tribes. Each son heard the blessings of the others so that they could incorporate an aspect of each blessing into their lives to create unity and rise above any limitation throughout their lives. When we end this portion and the Book of Genesis, (as we do when we complete any of the 5 Books of Moses) we say “Chazak, Chazak, V’Nischazek” – be strong, be strong and may we be strengthened! The word Chazak has the same numerical value (115) as – and therefore an affinity with – Pei Hei Lamed, one of the 72 Names of God used by Kabbalists to connect to strength and healing. Mem, Hei, Shin, another important sequence for healing has the numerical value of 345 or 3x Chazak. We can connect to the energy of healing through this aspect of the portion.