ויחי יעקב בארץ מצרים שבע עשרה שנה ויהי ימי יעקב שני חייו שבע שנים וארבעים ומאת שנה .מז ,כח
"יעקב lived in the land of מצרים for seventeen years, and יעקב’s days, the years of his life, were one hundred and forty seven years. (47, 28) פרשת ויחי directly follows the proceeding, without the usual פרשה break. When we consider that the seventeen years mentioned here were יעקב’s only quiet, tranquil years and so can be regarded as the flowering of his whole life, we certainly would have expected to see the account of these years highlighted by a break, marking the opening of a new .פרשה
The absence of his break teaches us that, though these seventeen years were indeed integral part of יעקב’s life as an individual, nationally they were of lesser significance. Precisely his troubled, sad life – the time of testing when, in the midst of a -יעקב like existence, he had to earn the right to bear the name “ישראל” – those were the years that secured יעקב’s eternal national significance. The final seventeen years were merely the conclusion, years of personal happiness and reward.
This also explains the unique wording ויהי ימי. The picture of יעקב’s whole life was a unified one. שני חייו apparently serves to correct יעקב ’s modest comment regarding the substance of his life. His years were not really מגוריו, containing only a little חיים; rather, all the days of his sojourning on earth were years of true living. "
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