Vayechi is about the life and death of our Patriarch Ya'aqov Jacob. He fathered the twelve tribes, the foundation of the Jewish Nation. He lives on through all of us. There's life after death when you have children and further descendants. Although his own father never left the HolyLand, he trekked and returned and then went down to Egypt for his final years, only demanding from his children to bury him in the Promised Land.
Today's the first of the goyish calendar year, 2010. Now that I don't have attendance forms to fill out, and rarely do I write a check, I pretty much ignore the goyish date. That's pretty easy for me to do. The Hebrew date is something else, just looking in the sky and seeing the shape of the moon, and we can gauge pretty accurately what today's date is. This picture shows a full moon, so it must be the middle of the month.
My father is only connected to the goyish calendar. That's the world he grew up in. He doesn't even remember his Bar Mitzvah, even though he certainly had one.
Every day as we take our walk around my neighborhood, we observe the weather.
"It's so warm outside. Is it really the end of December? It must be much colder in Great Neck now."Ya'aqov was taken to Egypt by his children, and l'havdil, to differentiate, I brought my father to Israel. G-d willing, my mother will sell the house quickly and join us. Most of their descendants are here in Israel. That was the magnet that drew him here and made him agree to come with me.
"Yes, they even had a snow storm."
"The house was always warm. The end of December? Then it's going to be a new year soon. And then I will be ninety, right?"
Before he left New York, he mentioned to friends and family that he probably wouldn't return. He expects to live the remainder of his life in Israel. Most of his friends and family of his age group have already died, or like him can no longer travel easily and independently to visit each other. So, life in New York is not what it once was. The time had come to make real changes.
We're all doing the best we can so that he'll enjoy however much time G-d gives him. Vayechi... and he will live...