updated October 27 2014
Why is the parsha “Chayah Sara” (the life of Sarah) where Sarah died ?. Why is our parsha called “vayachi” (and lived) when in the parsha Yisrael passed away. Because it is as is said a sadeek is more alive when he has departed from his body, then when he has a body in this world. As it says in Perke Avot this world is just a corridor leading to the inner chamber. As only in this world does one have the opportunity to gather provisions for the other world. Provisions they will take with them when they meet their creator on the day of great reckoning as spoken of by Rebenu Bachyah.
In the Zohar HaKodesh we see that one is aware of things near the time of their passing more than at other times. We see this reflected in the parsha as it says “ It was told Yaakov that Yosef was coming into his chamber. Who told him ?, maybe this was by Ruach ha Kodesh. We also see this from the verse ”And Jacob called to his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” One does have a higher awareness at the time of their passing. Yet the same verse concludes “Yisrael strengthened himself and sat up on his bed.” It is know that Yisrael is the name referred to Yaakov when he comes to a state of consciousness which is like Shabot, when he has minuchah (rest) from feelings of all anger and pain, but exists in a state of serenity as is tought by the Aor ha Chyim. In this one sentence where Yisrael speaks he goes from being Yaakov to Yisrael. As is mentioned before a person has a higher awareness at the time of their passing. How blessed is the passing of those who have prepared themselves to see the Shechinah. As this has been the only object of their life. Rabbi Snair Zalman said when the Russians put a gun to his head threatening him “ I have one God and 2 worlds”.
The aspect of Yaakov called Yisrael is when He is at the level of not serving Hashem from emotions alone, but also with Divine intellect called Nashama. This is truly a thing beyond this world. This level of consciousness Allows one to live beyond the ways of this world. One who has attained this level called “Yisrael” lives in the upper worlds while still in this world, and continues after this life thus. His passing in “death” is as going from one room to the next. Or as the Gemora describes it that the passing of the righteous is like lifting a hair up that is floating on a cup of milk. While the passing of the wicked is like the removal of a hair from a course brush. As all they knew in life was this world, their body and its desires. One who has spiritual desires and actions while in this world continues with these in the life in the next world so its said in the Gemora “Yaakov did not die “. Not everyone is as fortunate as Yaakov in their passing.
There are wicked people who do not merit entering Gehenom immediately after their death. To them is applied the verse “ He will fling away the lives of your enemies in the hollow of the sling.” in order to be cleansed of their sins to a degree so they can enter Gehenom. There is no set time for these cases. Sometimes a soul can be in this state for twenty years, or a hundred, or a thousands depending upon the seriousness of the sins. Understand the purifications inflicted upon the soul while still in the grave (chibut HaKever). The reason being that the klipah (spiritual impurity) is still attached to the soul. After a person is dead and buried, immediately there come four angels, who (spiritually) open up the grave and expand it to be the exact size and depth of the person buried therein. The soul and body are rejoined. The soul returns to the body like when it was alive. Each of the angels then grabs the soul from every angle, and beat him until the klipah has been broken and removed from the soul. Therefore is this called chibut HaKever (literally, the beating within the grave). Righteous people who keep distant from evil don’t need as much of chibut HaKever. After the Chibut HaKever, the four angels depart and leave the soul standing by the grave. Immediately thereafter comes another angel, powerful and cruel and very frightening. He grabs the soul and puts it through the Kaf HaKelah (literally, the hollow of a sling – this is the name given to that transformation period between the physical and the spiritual). The soul is thrown up to the outer gates of the Supernal court (Beit Din).
Next Yisrael blesses Yosef, but before he does he says concerning Yosef’s sons מי אלה (who are these ?). These are the same letters as Elohem”e. It is a permutation of the letters of Elohem”e . Concerning מ”י the Sni Luchot ha Brit says that this name is the source of the Divine name Elohem”e. The Zohar tells us אל”ה refers to all created things. Thus Yisrael when seeing Yosef’s sons says מי אלה. Meaning that Yisreal when seeing Yosef’s sons designates them as being closely attached to the root of the creation in Elohem”e. As it will be through nature that Mashiach ben Yosef shall and may it be soon prepare the Jewish people by uniting them as a nation to contend with the natural enemy of Mashiach ben Yosef, Asev. By this we will be ready for the coming of Mashiach ben David, and may this be soon. Since the coming of Mashiach ben Yosef precedes that of the coming of Mashiach ben David. Yosef is blessed first. It says in Thilim “Who leads Yosef like a flock”. The sages learn from this that all Yisrael is called Yosef. Yisrael blesses Yosef saying “ The angel who redeemed me from all evil shall bless the lads”. By this blessing all Yisrael is redeemed from all evil, as shown before that all Yisrael is referred to as Yosef. So may it be that soon we see this blessing fulfilled with the revelation of mashiach Ben Yosef destroying our enemies and the arrival of Mashiach ben David and the build of the Holy Temple quickly in our days.
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