Yaakov: A Peaceful End with a Fix

How wonderful that the Av of galus, who lived a life of hardship, is now enthusiastic to reveal the end of time, the keitz. What happened? Why the reversal and the optimism?

Quite poignantly, the first verse in the parsha identifies the last seventeen years of Yaakov's life in Mitzrayim as Vayechi. He had an inner life, an inner peace. For the first time, his children were in harmony with each other; there was unity. The hatred and jealousy resolved. This even trumped the first seventeen years Yaakov enjoyed with Yosef, for that time was stricken with strife within the family.

This is how the Lubavitcher Rebbe understands G-d's refusal to give Yaakov shalva. There was no real shalva in the family. The Yosef story needed to happen to bring a genuine end to the strife in the family and a reunification, ending the family enmity for good. 

A proof that the overriding harmony was now the new rubric is illustrated by the fact that Yaakov switched his hands when blessing Menashe and Ephraim despite all the past turmoil that occurred based on favoritism. There was now a spirit of unity and in fact Menashe and Ephraim had no jealousy towards each other despite the switch.

Yaakov now had the liberty to define, capture and deliver to the brothers their essence so that they could fix their weaknesses. To Yaakov the galus reached a finality and it was time for everyone to know the keitz. What happened? Why was it closed off from him?

The story wasn't over. Though Yaakov defined the essence of the brothers, realistically it was unknown if they would fix these traits. One can know what he must overcome but can easily fail based on fighting with a creative yetzer hara that even G-d framed as "tov meod."

The yetzer hara is so great because it serves as the final proof as to whether we choose G-d or our desires. If we overcome the yetzer hara, then when it is slayed, we reap the rewards of choosing good by seeing our accomplishments. But we are destroyed by it when we fall short in our mission in this world. 

One tell-tale sign of where our individual fight lies is in our place of struggle: where our traits are wanting, which are usually in the areas of jealousy, desire, pride, anger and brazenness. It's these areas that we must fix. 

In Psalm 51 Dovid asks G-d to create for him a pure heart. We must ask for a heart of renewal from G-d to battle with the yetzer hara. If accomplished we can, as Dovid concludes in the Psalm, sacrifice karbonos with purity in the Third Temple.