Shabbat Parashat Vayechi| 5764
Vayechi | | 1/8/2003
It certainly seems like Ya’akov died. In the opening of our parasha, it says, “And the days of Yisrael neared death” (Bereishit 47:29). Later, the Torah says: “Yisrael said to Yosef, ‘behold I am dying’ ” (ibid. 48:21). We even have sources after the fact such as: “The doctors embalmed Yisrael” (ibid. 50:2). However, the situation suddenly becomes confusing, when attempting to explain the pasuk: “Ya’akv completed instructing his sons, and he gathered his legs to the bed, and he expired and was gathered to his nation (vayigva vayeiasef el amuv- a phrase that usually refers to death)” (ibid. 49:33).
The Radvaz based his determination that one should enter danger of up to 50% on the Yerushalmi. The Yerushalmi is brought by the Beit Yosef (Choshen Mishpat 426) as follows: “In the Yerushalmi it is decided that one is required even to place himself in a doubt of danger. And the reason appears to be that the other person is [in] certain danger and he is [only in] possible danger, and whoever sustains a life in Israel is as if he sustained an entire world.”
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).