Unlike every other Parsha, there is no break between the end of Parshas Vayigash and the beginning of Parshas Vayechi. The Medrash brings several reasons for this. Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsh offers his own explanation for this as well.
Parshas Vayechi starts with Yaakov settling in Mitzrayim. These were the best and only peaceful years in Yaakov's strife filled life. He watched his family grow and learned Torah with his children and grandchildren. Surely, this deserves a Parsha by itself. "However," says Rav Hirsch, "the opposite is true."
All of Yaakov's troubles laid the foundation for the building of Bnei Yisrael. Every tragedy he suffered was another building block in the future of Klal Yisrael. His time in Mitzrayim may have been enjoyable, but did not add to the future legacy of the nation. These years were a reward for his lifetime of avodah in the face of the turmoil.
"This is why," says Rav Hirsch, "Parshas Vayechi is not a separate parsha. It is merely the epilogue of Yaakov's life and is attached to the parsha before, and the conclusion of his life. We are not here on this world to coast," says Rav Hirsch. "It is only through our suffering that we can accomplish anything."
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