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    Did Jacob change his mind? – Vayyechi

    Jacob on his deathbed, by Adam van Noort, c. 17th century

    Jacob told his family to gather around his death bed and he would reveal to them “the end of days” (Gen. 49:1). But the Divine Presence prevented him from carrying out his plan.

    We are curious to know why Jacob became unable to say what he had intended.

    The rabbis say that the gift of prophecy was removed from him (Talmud Pesachim 56a). Does this mean that what departed from him was not so much the ability to prophesy as the knowledge of the future?

    This is one of the ideas considered by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in his commentaries. Maybe there was some defect in Jacob that had disqualified him from clear thinking and futuristic knowledge.

    A possibility is that it would not have been good for either the family or mankind – or even Jacob himself – to know precisely what the future would bring.

    If “the end of days” would take a particular shape and form and arrive at a specified moment, we might think we no longer needed to work for it.

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