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Parashat Vayechi

Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Shemuel Akhamzadeh

זְבוּלֻ֕ן לְח֥וֹף יַמִּ֖ים יִשְׁכֹּ֑ן וְהוּא֙ לְח֣וֹף אֳנִיּ֔וֹת וְיַרְכָת֖וֹ עַל־צִידֹֽן׃
Zebulun shall dwell by the seashore; He shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall rest on Sidon.

And Rashi explains:
לחוף ימים. … שֶׁהָיָה זְבוּלֻן עוֹסֵק בִּפְרַקְמַטְיָא וּמַמְצִיא מָזוֹן לְשֵׁבֶט יִשָּׂשכָר, וְהֵם עוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה. הוּא שֶׁאָמַר מֹשֶׁה שְׂמַח זְבוּלֻן בְּצֵאתֶךָ וְיִשָּׂשכָר בְּאֹהָלֶיךָ (דברים ל”ג), זְבוּלֻן יוֹצֵא בִּפְרַקְמַטְיָא, וְיִשָּׂשכָר עוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה בְּאֹהָלִים:
לחוף ימים

For Zebulun was engaged in business and provided food for the tribe of Issachar whilst they engaged in the study of the Torah. It is to this that Moses alludes, (Deuteronomy 33:18) “Rejoice Zebulun in thy going out and Issachar in thy tents”, — Zebulun goes forth to trade and Issachar studies the Torah in the tents (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayechi 11; cf. Rashi on Genesis ישב אהלים 25:27).

The Midrash states Zebulun is blessed for being the supporter of the Torah of Issachar. Despite the fact that Issachar was older than Zebulun, in Yaakov’s blessings Zebulun precedes Yissachar. Because Zebulun dealt with trade and Issachar dealt with Torah, Zebulun would come and feed Issachar and therefore he blessed Zebulun before his brother.

Gemara Pessachim 53a/b tells over a scenario that unfolded during the period of the Roman Empire. Todos the Roman Jew had instituted a custom that whole roasted goats were to be eaten by Jews on the eve of Pessach. The sages who were not happy about his actions ( as this appears like eating Korban Pessach outside of Jerusalem) sent him a letter of objection stating, “If you were not Todos we would decree ostracism on you.” Further the Gemara asks what caused the sages to hold back the decree. Was Todos an important person, or was he a strong / violent man who they were afraid? The Gemara provides the reason he was no ostracized.

רבי יוסי בר אבין אמר מטיל מלאי לכיס של תלמידי חכמים היה …
Rabbi Yosei bar Avin said: Todos was one who cast profits from merchandise into the purse of the Torah scholars (so they could open businesses). As Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Anyone who casts merchandise into the purse of Torah scholars is rewarded and sits in the heavenly Yeshiva, as it is stated, “For in the shadow of wisdom, is the shadow of money” (Ecclesiastes 7:12). One who provides Torah scholars with support will merit being with them in the shadow of wisdom.

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