Parshas Vayigash
Bereishis 44:18 - 47:27

The Importance of Passing Torah Observance
On to Our Children

By Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

This study is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Arnold Student Litman, may he rest in peace.

In Parsha Bereishis Vayigash we read the story of Yaakov’s extreme reluctance to send his youngest son Binyomin to Mitzriam.

Both Yosief and Binyomin were the sons of Yaakov’s beloved wife Rochel. These sons were trained to be Torah scholars while the other sons were trained as shepherds. This is not to suggest that the other sons did not learn Torah or were not trained in the ways of Hashem but they clearly had spiritual problems when compared to Yosief and Binyomin who were kept close to their father’s attention. Yaakov had chosen Yosief and Binyomin to be his spiritual prodigy so to speak.

The Ten sons born to him from Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah observed and ran the physical family business while just two sons Yosief and Binyomin observed the spiritual family business.

As a result Yaakov was extremely disconcerted when faced with the prospect of allowing his only known {remaining} son, Binyomin, to journey any distance from him. Yaakov stated, And if you were to also take [Binyomin] away from me [you would be taking] everything from Aleph to Tav [away from my] face if something were to happen to him, a calamity, You would bring down everything from Aleph to Tav of my old age. In evil [I will go to the] grave. Bereishis 44:29

What Yaakov was actually saying was at my age I will not be in the mental / spiritual / physical condition to train my other sons to take the place of Yosief and Binyomin. In other words who will carefully, meticulously and articulately carry on the observance of Ha Torah as I have trained Yosief and Binyomin too? Who will learn Ha Torah in my memory? Who will OBSERVE ALL 613 MITZVAHS? Who will be the Torah Scholar?

In addition to this if both Yosief and Binyomin were to die there would be no sons... no decendants to carry on the relationship between Rachel and Yaakov. Their relationship would die in the grave. None of Rachel children would be included in B’nei Yisroel. There would be noone to carry on Torah observance from their relationship!!

If something happened to Binyomin Yaakov felt like all would be lost from the spiritual side of things. Yaakov said, Bih Raw Aw - Shih Oh Lawh, {In evil [I will go to the] grave}. The Gematria for Bih Raw Aw Shih Oh Lawh is 613 which represents TOTAL OF TORAH MITZVAHS.

It is clear Yaakov considered himself dead if he had no sons from Rachel to observe the 613 Mitzvahs of Ha Torah. Yaakov considered himself dead if he has no sons to learn Ha Torah in his honor. He had so to speak gone to the grave in evil Bih Raw Aw Shih Oh Lawh... In other words the absence of Torah learning and Mitzvahs = going to the grave in evil...

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk

Written in 5760
Updated in 5764

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