Abir Yaakov: Vayechi
The 5th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Yaakov of Sadiger (1884-1961), named for his grandfather, the first Sadigerer Rebbe. When Reb Avraham Yaakov turned 18, he married Bluma Raizel, the daughter of the Kapischnitzer Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak Meir Heschel. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Rebbe fled to Vienna, Austria, and lived there for 24 years. When the Nazis entered Vienna in 1938, the Rebbe was seized and forced to sweep the streets clean, to the amusement of the onlooking Germans. After WW2, he lived in Tel Aviv, where he continued the Sadigerer line. He authored Abir Yaakov.
“They are my children that the Lord gave to me with this.” (Genesis 48) Rashi explains that Yosef showed his Ketuba – marriage contract to Yaakov.
In the previous verse, when Yaakov asked Yosef, “Who are these?” Rashi explained that when Yaakov wanted to bless Ephraim and Menashe the Divine Inspiration abandoned him because Yeravam ben Nevat and Achav were destined to descend from these two young men.
The Maharsha askes about a rebellious son – Ben Sorer U’moreh – who is judged by what he will become: Why is this boy judged by what he will become and yet, regarding Yishmael the verse teaches that God says, “As he is now.” Why is the rebellious son judged by his future if God insists that He judges by what is here and now?
The Maharsha answers that a Ben Soreir U’moreh is usually the offspring of a relationship based on physical passion, and therefore is judges by what he will eventually become. However, Yishmael was the offspring of a holy union and therefore was judges as he was at that moment.
When Yaakov lost his Divine Inspiration because of what would happen, he was concerned that the two boys were the offspring of purely physical passion. He therefore wanted to know whether Joseph’s marriage was more than that. Yosef showed his Ketuba to Yaakov, and the father realized that he had to bless the boys as they were at that moment and not be concerned with what would happen in the future.