There are traditions and laws handed down from generation to generation on how a Sefer Torah is written. It is customary that between every Perasha there is always a space of a line and between Humashim (books) there are several lines of space.
In Perashat Vayehi, there is no space at all. It continues on the same line as the previous Perasha. This is quite unique as it is the only Perasha written that way; in a sealed fashion. Our Sages explain that the hearts of the Children of Israel after the death of Yaakob were sealed in expectation of the suffering and despair of the impending bondage.
The Spiritual Bondage had begun although the physical enslavement will not take place until all the sons of Yaakob and brothers of Yosef have died. The Children of Israel had no idea what was looming in their near future.
Yaakob wanted to divulge the future and the End of Days to his children; he was not able to do so. Our Sages also explain that his prophetic vision was sealed and he was prevented from doing so; his vision was concealed.
How often we find our thoughts and hearts sealed and closed. At times our thoughts are sealed completely and we don’t allow ourselves to understand a situation that is right in front of our eyes. We refuse to see the reality that we are in and we slip into an impending enslavement of our erroneous thoughts. We may make decisions that affect us and others with a sealed and closed mind that can be detrimental to everyone. How important it is to be aware and be open minded to accept reality and take the necessary precautions to prevent an impending doom as experienced by the Children of Israel.
Worse than that, would be to have our hearts sealed and closed to the need of our fellow Jew. How often we hear or see someone in need and we seal and close our heart to their plight. We ought to open our hearts and souls to the need of our fellow and to the need of our people.
Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D.