Parshas Vayechi
Genesis 47:28 - 50:26

What Will the Future Bring? ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Michael and Mrs. Channah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

Story: Those Were Good Days!
As young boys growing up each summer we went camping in the mountains of Colorado, thanks to our parents who took us, for one or two weeks usually around Memorial Day and Labor Day. We would begin making preparations about a month before our departure date. Our preparations would include checking our air mattresses for leaks and our sleeping bags for holes. Often we would air our sleeping bags out on a sunny afternoon before packing them. We would check our fishing gear, our kerosene lanterns, kerosene containers, five gallon gas and fresh water cans, our large shepherd's tent, poles, stakes, etc. Then we would go to the local sporting goods store to replenish what was missing or needing to be replaced from wear. If it was our first trip out we would purchase fishing licenses.

As time grew closer we would unratchet our old green trailer. It was chained to the back side of our oversized three car garage. Our trailer was about four feet wide by eight feet long with wooden sideboards. It was a real nice trailer . It carried most of our equipment behind our small jeep.

A few days before leaving we packed the trailer with our equipment. Then on the day before leaving we purchased groceries and large blocks of ice. The night before we left we could hardly sleep. Each of us was so excited! Those were great days! They were wonderful times!

Normally we left very early on Monday morning around 2 0r 3 am. There were five of us plus our family dog, Prince. He was a gray Wiemaraner of about 75 pounds. My brothers and I would find our way back into our tightly packed jeep, crawling into the 12" space between our gear and the canvas top. We were little then. After we were comfortably settled in our father would get Prince. He would jump up into the jeep, then crawl into the back with us kids.

Frequently we went to a place called Storm Mountain located near Rabbit Ears Pass. We traveled from Denver on Old Highway 40 until we would near the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass on the west side of the Continental Divide at about 9,500 ft. above sea level. This meant old Willie, our beloved red jeep, would have to pull the trailer up over Rabbit Ears Pass. Then we would drive back a ways on a good dirt road to a campground. It seems like the drive back to the campground was about 2 or 3 miles. It was a lovely out of the way place. Normally the campground was vacant. It was rare to see another camper back there. Even though that was the situation we did not camp there because it was too far to hike to Fishhook Lake. It was at this campground that we would chain our trailer.

Next we began jeeping back into the Colorado wilderness for about a mile and a half. This was a difficult, steep and tilted trail, crossing mud bogs and spring creeks along mountainsides and open valleys. We would normally get stuck / bogged down as many as four times in and out. We would have to winch our way out of the bogdown. Eventually we would reach this incredible place on the upper side of a valley, about one mile below the outlet from Fishhook Lake. It was there that we would unload and set up camp. After we unloaded, my father and younger brother would head back to old Greenie to get more supplies and gear. My loving mother who kind of hated to camp, my youngest brother who was no older than five or six and I would stay behind to begin setting up camp. We kept Prince with us for protection!

Eventually after several trips back and forth everything was at our main campsite. Everyone pitched in to set up camp. The tent had to be set up. Sometimes two tents were set up. Makeshift tables were set up with groceries on top of and beneath them. Trenches had to be dug around the tent to channel water away from the dry earth inside. This was in the days before tents had floors. We used a canvas tarp for a partial floor where we slept. We inflated our air mattresses one breath at a time.. Much has changed since those days.

Eventually our camp was set up. Momma would make a late afternoon lunch and Daddy would head to the lake with Prince. Most of us would not go to the lake until the next day. We would stay behind, play in the wild mountain valley meadow, in the creek and gather firewood for that night.

Holy reader, back in those days when my brothers and I were having so much fun Daddy could not tell us what the future would bring. He would say, "Boys, someday I won't be able to bring you back here. Ol' Dad won't be able to make it. I hope when you grow up you'll bring your boys to a nice place like this one. You'll remember those days."

Well, Daddy was right! Even though we were young it wasn't long until he stopped taking us on those trips because of his health. We had no way of knowing then. We were too young. Even though Daddy told us what the future would bring we could not imagine it surrounded by all that beauty. We could not understand! The future seemed so far away... and now it is the long, long far away but not forgotten past!

Dear reader, Daddy is nearing ninety now, may he live and be well!

Holy reader, it wasn't so long ago - just twelve weeks - that we began studying Sefer Bereishis, Genesis. Now we're concluding our first book of the Torah this Shabbos. In these few short weeks we have studied 2,255 years of history from Creation to the flood, to Avraham Aveinu, to Yitzchok the Sacrifice, to Yaakov and to his children and grandchildren...

Now Sefer Bereishis concludes with the last hours of Yaakov. He calls his sons to bless them and says, "Gather 'round and I will tell you what will happen to you in the end of days..." Genesis 49:1 As we read Parshas Vayechi at this place and at this time in history, at the beginning of the first year of the twenty-first century {5761}, many are wondering, are we approaching the days that our father Yaakov spoke of? With all that is happening in Yisroel, are we at the entrance to the end of days?

A year ago many were contemplating what this past year would bring and now some of us are wondering what this year will bring. None of us knows! Only Hashem knows. We are too young in the expanse of eternity to know. We are just children! We're a dot on the map and a blink of the eye in the time of eternity. Yet the Torah does speak about the end of days.

Holy reader, we have been expecting the end of days for over 3,000 years. It is possible that children born today will live to see what Yaakov called the end of days. You may experience the end of days... Yet just as our father Yaakov was about to reveal what he termed the end of days, HE SAID NOTHING! Our sages say the Shechinah departed him. His clear vision became blurred! What he intended to reveal was interrupted!! And that is where we conclude Sefer Bereishis... wondering what will the future bring? So just as our father Yaakov was prevented from revealing what he saw... what he understood for a few seconds... what he wanted to share, we also are denied that vision... that understanding...
Parents frequently have this vision... this understanding... this ability to see and to project the future especially of their children. Yet, however well parents see the future they have difficulty communicating it to their descendants!

Yaakov was in a very spiritual state just before his death. He wanted to share his glimpse from the spiritual world with his children yet he was prevented. Yaakov was in this state of entering the spiritual world and departing the physical world. As great a man as Yaakov was, he was prevented from sharing the clarity of his vision with his sons. WHY? Only G-d knows! The point is this, much is made about the future by religious leaders far beneath Yaakov's stature... by people claiming to possess this wisdom, this understanding that Yaakov possessed but could not impart... by people who claim to have visions and dreams... by people who claim G-d said this or that...

BE VERY WARY OF THEM!! Few living in this world come close to the greatness of Yaakov. Few reach the spiritual heights of Yaakov... Only a very limited few ever hear / experience G-d as Yaakov did!

One must understand that G-d did not want us to focus on the end! G-d wanted us to focus on the NOW! What are we doing NOW? What is happening NOW? Where are we NOW in the construction of our spiritual house? So, dear readers, Yaakov was prevented from making his revelation known because NOW IS MORE IMPORTANT! We need to be charged with the energy of the NOW! We must make the very best of this hour of this day! The future is important but THE NOW IS MORE IMPORTANT! We should pray NOW! We should study the Torah NOW! We should forgive NOW! We should repent NOW! We should make amends NOW! We should be concerned about how we are living TODAY!

IN OTHER WORDS WE SHOULD CARE FOR WHAT WE HAVE NOW OR WE WILL HAVE NO FUTURE! Giving up land that we posses NOW does not ensure our future. It does NOT grant us surety for peace! No matter what we do, we will at best be only conjecturing what the future will bring! Does this mean one should not make future plans? Of course not! Does it mean one should not make attempts at improving tomorrow or next week or next year? Does it mean one should not seek avenues of peace? Of course not! What I mean to say is if we disregard what we have now for a future hope, that is a mistake! We must utilize all that we possess now to insure the future.

Remember Yaakov only wrestled with the malach because he returned to retrieve a few pots and pans that could have easily been discarded... that could have been left behind. Our sages teach that everything the very righteous possess is extremely dear to them. That being the point we possess only the NOW! The future belongs to Hashem! We must meticulously care for and guard the NOW!

Once the Now of today is gone we can only say we used the day wisely or we wasted the day! Then after a life of days, we will approach our end of days and we will know if we have wisely used our days or if we have wasted our days. So for us today our focus should be on using all that we possess wisely! If our father Yaakov returned for a few jars then we must not cast off anything.

My brothers and I can only return to our memories of those days in the mountains of Colorado when we were children. They are gone forever aside from our precious memories. A few years ago, my wife Naomi, our youngest son and I ventured back to that area. It also has undergone many, many changes. That is why the Now is so important. That is why we must guard the Now. It is a mistake to overreact to the future and to diminish the Now because the future is built, founded, established on the Now and the Now and the Now....

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. BelkWeekly Studies

JewishPath is a sponsor of B'nai Noach Torah Institute. As a sponsor we are permitted to offer one FREE E-Mail course on a limited basis per individual from BNTI's Introduction Courses. We invite you to visit and choose an E - Mail Intro Course. BNTI offers Intro Courses in Judaism and Spirituality {7 Noaich Laws}. BNTI Responses are NOT AUTO!!

B'nai Noach Torah Institute offers dozens of tuition e - mail courses. Please visit BNTI's Tuition Courses page.
For Jewish Classmates: Gematria, Parsha, Tehillim, Medos, High Holidays and many more...
For Spiritualist Classmates: Bereishis, Torah, Blessings, Intro. Hebrew and many more...

B'nai Noach Torah Institute

Colorado Jewish Community Directory

  Study The Seven Noach Commandments

The Learning Store 
Weekly Parsha 


  High Holy Days

Messianic Refute


 Other Links

 Jewish Links



  Torah Or Bust!

 Membership at J P

  Support J P

 About J P

  E - Mail J P


Search JewishPath

JewishPath Search is for Active JewishPath Membership and Tuition Classmates at BNTI only.