web analytics
August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshas Vayigash: Why did Serach Live Such A Long Life?

Shemos Rabbah states that Yaakov transmitted the “secret of the redemption.”

Leff-120613

Remember 613 Torah Avenue? Of course you do.

Released in the 1970’s and through the early 1980’s, the 613 Torah Avenue Tapes on the weekly parsha were part and parcel of most frum children’s Torah education during those years, and continue to be used by many teachers and rebbeim.

One of those songs made a certain Tanach personality a household name – specifically this line set to the tune of “O Susanna”:

Serach played on her kinor Yosef is alive; Yaakov was so happy when the wagons did arrive.  [I have yet to find the midrashic source for this information.  If you know of one, please e-mail me.]

Indeed, Serach is mentioned in our parsha as a daughter of Asher:  “And the sons of Asher, Yimnah, Yishvah, Yishvi, Briyah – and Serach, their sister” (Bereishis 46:17). 

It is from Chazal that we learn more about her.

Serach was one of nine people to have entered Gan Eden alive (Derech Eretz Zuta 1). Targum Yonason explains that this was in the merit of being the one who gave Yaakov the news that Yosef was alive. At first, Yaakov did not accept what the brothers were telling him, but when Serach told him that it was true, he was able to accept it. Tzror Hamor writes that in this merit she lived a very long life, being the only person from the original seventy members of Yaakov’s family to enter Eretz Yisrael.

Shemos Rabbah states that Yaakov transmitted the “secret of the redemption” – that the Redeemer would say, “pakod pakadati – I [Hashem] have indeed remembered” to Yosef who transmitted it to Asher, who transmitted it to Serach, since he knew that she would be alive for the redemption. The Mechilta states that Serach was actually the one who informed Moshe where Yosef was buried (submerged in the Nile River) so that he could fulfill the promise made to Yosef that his bones would be taken out of Egypt.

The Midrash Seichel Tov explains the meaning of Serach’s name based upon what we have now learned. The word serach is used in connection to material for the curtain in the Mishkan (Shemos 26:12) which descended from the roof and was “additional,” in the sense that it wasn’t needed for the actual covering of the beams. Serach lived a long life with many additional years – as a matter of fact the Midrash writes that she was the “wise woman” who called out to Dovid’s general, Yoav, when he was pursuing Sheva ben Bichri (Shmuel II, 20:16). This is based on Bereishis Rabbah (94:9) where Serach rebukes Yoav for threatening to kill and destroy the whole city, including her.

So, Serach is one those mysterious personalities and she lived a very long life. Why? Yes, it was an extremely momentous time for Yaakov, but what exactly did Serach do that was so amazing?

That’s where this week’s haftarah comes in. You were wondering whether you had the right column, weren’t you? This is supposed to be a haftarah column, you were thinking, correct? Well, wonder no more.

The haftarah records one of the most important prophecies of Yechezkel HaNavi (37:15-28).  He sees a vision of Messianic times, when the kingdoms of Yehudah and Yosef will be unified once again. This is represented by two wooden sticks, one for Yosef and one for Yehudah, becoming one – no divisions within Klal Yisrael. Just as in our parsha Yosef is finally reunited with his brothers and his father, so too Yechezkel describes a time of reunification when the long exile of hatred and disunity will have passed.

The concept of achdus, ultimate unity, is the eventual goal of all of Hashem’s creation. Before Creation, Hashem’s Oneness existed alone, with nothing to create any doubt.  Then, Hashem made a world with many diverse parts, and His Oneness hidden throughout.  At the end of time, all the disparate elements that Hashem created will join together to show a true oneness, a Oneness of Hashem which existed all along but was not clearly seen. It will be then that Ein Od Milvado, the concept that nothing truly exists outside of Hashem, will be seen, and all of the puzzle pieces of existence will have come together as one. We will then encounter the truth of Hashem’s Oneness and the finality of the Complete Redemption, the Geulah Shelaimah.

About the Author:


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Parshas Vayigash: Why did Serach Live Such A Long Life?”

  1. Interesting you mention the Oneness of creation, Rabbi. While working on a "toy" and the rough-draft of the "manual" that comes with it, I started playing with the theme of One being the largest of numbers, because it is the smallest common denominator of all numbers- a multiple that fits evenly in any number, no matter how large. No number can exist without the One, and even prime numbers can be broken down by the One. Another concept behind this "toy" is the idea of two equal, yet opposed, parts coming together to make a whole (where each piece on its own is weak and the polar opposite of the other, when they are put together, they form a solid staff). This "toy" can have far more practical applications for the modern world, but when I came up with it, themes of unity, and respect for both the little ones and the big One kept popping up. Sadly, while I see the beauty in creation when I use this toy or imagine its uses once all the additional components are in place, I am stuck trying to get others to understand it. When I see a tree, I see the layers and layers of fibers that support it. Each grain is weak on its own, but when bundled together, they can support tremendous weight. Break it down even further, and we see individual cells forming together in complex arrangements to make the tree, as well as all other living things. Beyond that, the atomic and subatomic level, and who knows how much deeper it gets, but when you start to look from the bottom up, you start to see the beauty of this vast and complex system that is built piece by piece, one by One. And while this system allows for a lot of complexity, there is still this divine simplicity behind it that allows it all to come together and to interact in all the various ways to make life possible. This "toy" I've been playing is extremely crude in comparison, but even so, I think it has value to teach and inspire, as well as completing a few other, practical tasks at the same time. I've offered this system to various entities in the past year, but my words fail me and without having every component in play, it's a hard sale. To be honest, the themes of unity and the reverence for the natural world would be lost if most of those entities were to pick up the concept…from the start, it felt like this "toy" belonged with one group of people first. I'm little more than nothing myself though, and nobody listens to nothing. But for what it's worth, articles like these give me a peace and an understanding that I didn't have before…the Sunday-school teachers and preachers of my youth left me with a great uneasiness and an inability to unify the multiple angles that had been thrown at me. Thank you, Rabbi.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Firefighters put out fire in firebombed car near Beit Hanina on August 3, 2105.
Jewish Woman Severely Burned, 2 More Injured in Yet Another Arab Firebombing Attack
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Rabbi Boruch Leff
Leff-071715

Feeling Hashem’s presence in our lives is the very purpose of the Beis HaMikdash.

Leff-061915

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

The Arizal taught this same approach, making the point that the Torah would never mention wicked people and their sins if there was not great depth involved from which we are to learn from.

These four parshiyos are viewed as steps in a progression toward Pesach, the Yom Tov of teshuvah m’ahavah, of returning to Hashem out of love.

Just having basic emunah during these times of great spiritual challenges is inestimable in Hashem’s eyes.

In reality, there is no such thing as an unimportant detail, an unimportant mitzvah.

“A person should sell even the beams of his own house in order to buy shoes.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-vayigash-why-did-serach-live-such-a-long-life/2013/12/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: