And Jacob called to his children and said to them, "Gather together and I will reveal to you what will be your lot in the end of days." So they gathered together and they listened to their father Israel. (Gen. 49:1-2)

What was the nature of this gathering? Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz, a student as well as a colleague of the Baal Shem Tov, suggested that this gathering can be explained by the Talmudic expression: "Make your ears like a funnel. Strain your ears to hear/listen well to what is being said." (Tractate Chullin 89a) Sometimes there is a limit to what can be accomplished by an individual Jew…

He explained in the name of his friend and fellow student of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman of Horodenka, that sometimes there is a limit to what can be accomplished by an individual Jew - even through prayer. A Jew's transgressions simply make it impossible for him to bridge the distance between himself and the Creator. What can be done?

The distance can be bridged only in one way: by every Jew joining together, hand in hand until this Jewish chain reaches all the way to the Throne of Glory. Then G‑d surely will not be able to ignore our entreaties.

This is the meaning of "Make your ears like a funnel…": Jews need to learn from the Tribes, the sons of Jacob who gathered together to hear their revered father's final words, to consolidate their ears together until they become one enormous ear. Such an ear is surely capable of hearing everything.

Since the Talmud says, "All Jews bear ultimate responsibility one for the other" (Shavuot 39a); in this way nothing will be missed, no nuance neglected. The lessons needed to be learned will be grasped, and we will always be able to help each other go on a positive path of serving G‑d.

[Based on Imrei Pinchas; first published in B'Ohel Tzaddikim, Vayechi 5759;]