Weekly Drash - Vayechi
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Vayechi - ויחי : “And he lived”
Waiting for Salvation
Thought for the Week:
“Our father Jacob foresaw Samson and thought that he was the Messiah. But when he saw him dead he exclaimed, ‘He too is dead! Then for your salvation I wait [hope], O LORD.’ ” Rabbi Yitzchak said, “Everything is bound up with waiting. Suffering is bound up with waiting, [martyrdom] with waiting, the merit of the Fathers with waiting, and the desire of the World to Come with waiting. Thus it is written [in Isaiah 26:8], “Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.” (Genesis Rabbah 98:14 on Genesis 49:18)
Jacob exclaimed, “For your salvation I wait, O LORD.” The word translated “salvation” is yeshua (ישועה). Yeshua’s name means “salvation.” The Sages understood Jacob’s exclamation to reflect his longing for Messiah, the true Judge of Israel, the true Salvation. The daily prayer for the coming of Messiah is based upon this passage. Observant Jews pray it three times a day. Notice how the name of Messiah finds its way into the blessing:
These words express the waiting, the longing and the hope that is our expectation in Messiah. Jacob’s exclamation reflects his longing for Messiah, the true Judge of Israel, the true Salvation. The Hebrew word translated as “wait” is qavah (קוה), a word also translated as “hope.” Messiah is the “hope of Israel.” (Acts 28:20) We wait for Yeshua, but we also hope in Yeshua. He is our hope of salvation.
The wait for Messiah is not a passive waiting, as if we were simply passing time at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to arrive. It is a passionate waiting. A deep, heartfelt longing. It is an ache for His coming, for His appearing. To properly await Messiah, our hearts need to break with the anticipation. We pine away for Him like a young betrothed virgin longs for the return of her fiancé from a foreign land. She is continually scanning the horizon for some sign of his appearing, starting at the sound of every footfall, sighing by day and shedding tears by night. Every day is, in some sense, painful because we are separated from our true love. But at the same time, it is our hope of being united with Him that gives us meaning and hope every day. The great Torah scholar Maimonides says that a person who does not believe in Messiah and await His coming denies the Torah.
Perhaps the word qavah (wait, hope) is somewhat parallel to the conventional way we use the word “faith.” Our hope in Yeshua and our wait for Messiah are components of our faith in Him. In that respect, it is as if Jacob declares, “I place faith in your Messiah, O LORD.”
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
FFOZ's Weekly e-Drash is based on our popular Torah Study
First Fruits of Zion, PO Box 620099, Littleton, CO
2004-2013 Yeshua Ha'Mashiach Ministries, Inc.