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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


Then Jacob called for his sons and said, R20;Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days.” (49:1)

Rashi comments that Jacob wanted to inform his sons the exact time the Messiah will come, however, this information was taken away from him. Jacob was, thereby, unable provide this information to his sons. The “End of Days” in this verse is specifically speaking about the Messiah’s arrival. A question can be asked: Why wasn’t Jacob permitted to reveal this information to the 12 tribes? I would like to propose the following original answer, Bezrat Hashem, as follows: Knowing the specific time the Messiah will arrive would be very detrimental to the proper spiritual development of the Jewish people. This could potentially cause people to be lax in their spiritual pursuits. By knowing the exact time the Messiah will come, a person might be in a state of procrastination. A person might feel that he or she has adequate “time’’ to repent and to perhaps change for the better. Why should I repent now, if I can repent later on just before the Messiah comes? But since we lack the knowledge of exactly when the Messiah will come, we are therefore in a state of”perpetual” repentance. The Torah abhors complacency. We must constantly strive to better ourselves and not be content with the status quo. A similar concept is found in Pirchai Avos 2:10, as follows: Rabbi Eliezer said, “Repent before you die.” (End of quote). This means that since a person doesn’t know his time of death, he will always be in a state of perpetual repentance. In other words, constantly repenting and changing for the better. To illustrate this concept, I would like to propose an original parable, Bezrat Hashem. There was once a traveler that needed to catch his train at 8 o’clock in the morning. This traveler decided that it would best for him to awaken at 6 in the morning, and he would have more than enough time to get himself together for his train’s departure. However, that morning he mistakenly awoke at 5 instead of 6 in the morning. So he decided that he would go back to sleep, and for sure he will be awake at 6. This, however, did not happen as the traveler planned for he had overslept. He, unfortunately, missed his train. The time is now for us to repent and to change for the better, not some vague time in the future. Have a Good Shabbos……


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