web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Saying Goodbye To Yaakov Avinu


Share Button

Doesn’t it make you sad?

Every year, when we finish Sefer Bereishis, I feel like crying. There is nothing like being in the presence of our Fathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and our Mothers Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah.

You feel safe. You are “at home.” You are protected by them and their merit.

It is well known, after all, that we exist on “zechus avos,” the merit of our fathers. Don’t we thank God at least three times a day for being the “Shield of Abraham”? He protected Abraham, and He is protecting the children of Abraham from countless evils and dangers.

Am Yisrael is a mishpacha; it’s not a business or political entity. Am Yisrael doesn’t derive its reality from a tax ID or social security number, but rather from mothers and fathers who love us and who bequeath to us a unique family tradition of service to God. We are supposed to imitate God in our actions, and we learned in the home of our avos and imahos how to do it, because they did it.

Anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a parent knows a part of you is wrenched away. The life of a loved one is never long enough. When we say goodbye to our father or mother for the last time there will be tears and a terrible feeling of emptiness.

This week we say goodbye to Yaakov Avinu.

When Am Yisrael went into exile, we passed Mama Rachel’s tomb in Beis Lechem. She was crying for us and we were crying for her. Those tears sustained us and gave us hope, because we know that the Gate of Tears is never closed (Berachos 32b).

“Thus said Hashem: a voice is heard on high, wailing, bitter weeping, Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled for her children, for they are gone” (Jeremiah 31:14).

Politicians do not weep for us. Civil servants do not weep for us.

Who weeps for us? Mamas and tattas weep for us.

We are a nation with a heart, with feelings. Do we not place the tefillin first next to our heart? That’s where everything begins.

Rachamana liba boay” – God desires the heart (Rashi on Sanhedrin 106b).

Soon after Jacob died, the Torah tells us that “Joseph died and all his brothers and that entire generation” (Exodus 1:6).

And then? “A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know of Joseph . So they appointed taskmasters in order to afflict [the Children of Israel]” (Exodus 1:11).

As soon as the mamas and tattas are gone, the troubles begin and Exile commences. Our Patriarchs and Matriarchs protected us, and now they are gone.

We can relate to this today very easily if we think of the gedolim who have left us in the past few years. What kind of a world is it without them? Do you know how they protected us? There are actually a few people still alive, but not many, who knew the Chofetz Chaim. There are still many who remember Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky.

Rav Avraham Pam passed away a few weeks before 9/11. People at the time said that if he had lived another few weeks, the events of 9/11 could never have occurred, because his kedushah protected us.

Why do we say “magen Avraham” at least three times a day? Because God was a shield to Abraham and that protection is actively saving Abraham’s children to this very day.

“I will say of God, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; I will trust in Him . With His pinion He will cover you, and beneath His wings you will be protected” (Psalm 91).

My wife and I had the privilege of meeting Rav Pam about a year before he left this world. Our friend Reb Tsemach Glenn brought us to him a few days after the publication of my book From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul. We were with him for about half an hour, and it felt literally like being in the presence of an angel.

When we left his home, our hearts were filled with simcha, hope, and a feeling of elevation. Within a few hours, things started to happen which were so unusual that they could only have been the result of his blessing.

Rav Pam became like a father to us, even though we had never met him before and spent a relatively short time with him. His love was not abstract. We felt that he cared for us like his own children, that in fact we became his own children – in thirty minutes! It was clear he was asking God to bless us, and indeed we quickly saw the result of his brachos. He was actively working for our welfare, and he hardly knew us.

Why were we important to him? Because we were his mishpacha.

And now we say goodbye to Yaakov Avinu, the father of us all.

Goodbye, dear father, whose brachos are always with us. We will try to live up to the standards you set for us. Yehuda said about Yaakov and Binyamin (Bereishis 44:30): “v’nafsho keshura l’nafsho” – his soul is bound up with his soul. Even after 3,500 years, the soul of Yaakov Avinu is bound up with our souls and our souls are bound up with his.

Let us weep at this parting. Let us remember our avos and imahos with tears of gratitude and love. They lived for us and now let us live for them. With these tears, our prayers will ascend to the heavens and awaken the heavenly mercy.

As it is with these tears, so it is with tears for Yerushalayim. It is said about Jerusalem, “Whoever mourns over Jerusalem is deserving to witness her joy” (Taanis 30b).

Soon we will see the rebuilt Yerushalayim.

Similarly, it is said, “Our father Jacob did not die” (Rashi on Bereishis 49:33; Taanis 5b).

“Thus said Hashem [to Mama Rachel]: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment – the word of Hashem- and they will return from the enemy’s land. There is hope for your future – the word of Hashem – and your children will return to their border” (Jeremiah 31:14).

“Those who sow in tears will reap in glad song” (Psalm 126).

It seems quite clear we will see it soon in our days, and then all our tears will become tears of joy and everlasting gladness.

Share Button

About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at roy@tosinai.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Saying Goodbye To Yaakov Avinu”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Roy S. Neuberger
Front-Page-031414

The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.

Front-Page-011014

At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.

“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.

They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.

Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.

At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.

So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.

What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:

“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.

“Israel has bad public relations.”

This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/saying-goodbye-to-yaakov-avinu/2009/12/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: