In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Vayechi Genesis 47:28-50:26, the final portion of the book of Genesis, we read of Jacob’s blessings to his sons and grandsons on his deathbed, and his final passing and burial. The book concludes with Joseph’s final days, as well, and his death and enbalming in Egypt.
Topic 1: Jacob Nears Death
After 17 years in Egypt, Jacob feels the end of his days approaching. Knowing he would die there and not return to his homeland, he makes Joseph swear to bury him in the Cave of Machpelah with his wife, parents and grandparents. The Israel Bible emphasizes Jacob’s request. Even though his life is comfortable… Read More »
Topic 2: Jacob Blesses His Grandsons
Having claimed them as equal in status to his own sons, Jacob now notices his two grandsons standing with their father. Confirming their identities, he asks Joseph to bring them close that he may bless them. Jacob is overwhelmed with joy, as he had not thought he would ever see Joseph again, let alone his… Read More »
Topic 3: Jacob Blesses His Sons
Jacob now sets out to bless his own sons. He wishes to tell them what will befall them in the End of Days. To Reuben, Simeon and Levi, Jacob offers only chastisement for their earlier actions. Reuben, for interfering with Jacob’s marital bed (see Genesis 35:22), and Simeon and Levi for their rash attack… Read More »
Topic 4: Jacob’s Burial
Joseph weeps at Jacob’s passing, and orders his father’s body to be embalmed, a process which the Torah says takes forty days. He then asks Pharaoh’s leave to bury his father in Israel, as he had promised, and Pharaoh agrees. Joseph’s brothers attended the burial, along with Pharaoh’s servants and the elders of Egypt. So… Read More »
Topic 5: Joseph’s Final Days
After Jacob’s death, the brothers worry that Joseph will at long last be moved to avenge himself upon them. They therefore claim their father asked before he died that Joseph be merciful and forgive his brothers for what they did to him. They offer to serve him as slaves. Joseph responds that although their… Read More »
Topic 6: Haftarah – John Kerry’s Foolish Plan to Divide the City of Unity
On December 28, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry laid out his vision to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In his fourth of six points, Kerry argued for “an agreed resolution for Jerusalem as the internationally recognized capital of the two states.” According to the outgoing US administration, sharing Jerusalem will… Read More »
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