Vayechi 5770 – I am not a Fighter Pilot

A few weeks ago, my daughter wanted to go on Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so being the good father I am, I went on the ride with her. Everest is the most recent roller coaster built at Walt Disney World and it goes backwards, has steep drops, and goes through the dark. When we came off, my daughter was jumping up and down while I needed to sit on a bench for a few minutes. I had never gotten so dizzy from a ride before and wondered how my daughter was not affected by the ride at all. My father-in-law suggested that her brain is made to be a fighter pilot. Hashem created some people that do not get dizzy even though they are thrown around in all sorts of directions; they do not lose control nor focus. I guess my daughter is made this way. (but I sincerely hope she does NOT become a fighter pilot!)

Different people are made different ways. Each person has his own unique characteristics, likes and dislikes. In this week’s parsha, Yaakov gathers his twelve sons around his bed and tells each of them individually what their particular trait is. Yehuda is made to be the king. Yissochar is the wise scholar. Zevulun is the businessman. Each of his sons has a particular characteristic that sets him apart from the others. But when Yaakov tells each of his children what his strong-point is, he does it in a group setting. Why do all of sons need to hear the power of their fellow brothers? Why does Naftali need to hear about Dan or Levi near to hear about Gad?

Rav Yissochar Frand answers this question. The reason is because everyone needs to know who they are and who they are not. They all need to see they have certain talents, but other people have other talents. No one person can do everything so the sons of Yaakov needed to hear that if they needed help in a particular area, they could go to this brother or that brother.

Last week, we celebrated Chanuka and remembered the amazing miracles that occurred because of the Chashmoni’im. But if a person studies history, they will see that these tzaddikim from the Chashmoni’im were completely wiped out and that this family does not exist anymore. What sin could they have committed to make this type of tragedy occur? Our Sages tell us that the Chashmoni’im made a mistake. They were Cohanim and during the time of their rule, there was no one from the tribe of Yehuda fit to be king (because the verse in the Torah clearly states that the monarchy is to come from Yehuda), so they made themselves the kings. Our Sages say this is the reason they were wiped out – they took on a job that was not theirs. They were meant to be the Cohanim, not the kings, but they did both jobs. Each person is only supposed to do their own job and let the other people do their jobs.

Some people are made to be fighter pilots. Others are not. The reason is because each person is made differently and these differences are what we need to fulfill our specific job. If someone is not made to be a fighter pilot and tries to become one, they are going to get extremely sick. Hashem is sending us a lesson when this happens – this is not your strong-point. We all have our talents, but not one of us can do everything. We need to work together with other people to accomplish things in this world and this is the lesson Yaakov Avinu was trying to give to his sons.

And one final though: if you are not made to be a fighter pilot, don’t go on crazy roller coasters (unless your daughter really wants to and no one else is foolish enough to go on)

Good Shabbos!
-yes
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