Saturday, December 07, 2013


I just read he Netziv's take on the opening line of Vayechi (Breishit 47:28) which is a seemingly unnecessary statement of the number of years Yaakov Avinu lived in Mitzrayim- because we were already told that he was 130 when he came to Mitzrayim and we're told that he's 147 when he dies there). He says that he means not just that he was alive but that he truly lived fully and well during those years. 

The Netziv is consistent with his comment. He says similar things throughout Breishit:

2:7 - G-d breathes the breath of life ino man and with that breath man becomes truly alive.

3:20 - Chavah is given her name because she is the mother of all true, vigorous, joyful life.

5:5 - The years of Adam's life, "which he lives," are recounted, i.e. that he lived as only a human can- with intent.

23:1 - Sarah lived, not just in the sense that she was not dead, but she spun bad into good in the way she actively lived.

27:40 - Eisav is told buy his father that he will "live" by sword, meaning that will be the key to his living his full, complete life.

42:2 - Yaakov tells his sons to get bread so they "will live," even though one can survive without bread he wanted them to live at the level they were used to, and still have a somewhat decent life, not just a pulse.

45:27 - When Yaakov is told that Yosef is alive and hears the messages Yosef sent he truly comes to life.

47:8 - Paroh meets Yaakov at a high point is Yaakov's life. Yet, he gets the sense from Ya'akov's appearance and vibe that it has not always been this way and so he asks: "How many of your years have you lived fully and happily?"


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