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  • Vayechi 2020

    Perhaps one of the most striking features of Vayechi is that Yaakov ‘created’ two tribes – Ephraim and Menashe – from Yosef.

    While the creation of two tribes bearing the names of Yosef ’s sons can certainly be seen as a reward for Yosef ’s righteousness, this same phenomenon underscores a tragic dimension of his life: Yosef ’s name does not appear in the list of tribes along with his brothers. Yosef ’s lonely position was the ultimate outsider is thus cemented and preserved for posterity. Yosef never succeeded in becoming part of any society in which he found himself.

  • Vayechi 2018

    "By you shall Israel bless saying, ‘May G-d make you like Ephraim and like Menashe'” [Bereshit 48:20].

    These are the words with which Ya’akov blessed Menashe and Ephraim, Yosef's children. It has become traditional for parents to bless their children with these words every Friday night and on Erev Yom Kippur.

    Why do parents bless their son’s to be like Ephraim and Menashe not like our forefathers?

  • Vayechi 2017

    The book of Bereishit ends with the reconciliation of Joseph and his brothers, the blessings given by Jacob to his 12 sons and 2 grandchildren and the deaths of both Jacob and Joseph. The scene is being set for the next stage in Jewish history, where the Jews who have come to settle in Egypt will be enslaved by a new Pharaoh.>[? Every Friday night before Kiddush we give our children a blessing. This is based on a scene from this week’s parshat where Jacob puts his hands on the heads of Joseph’s sons, the grandchildren born in Egypt. Before he blesses them, he gives them a hug.

  • Vayechi 2015

    The Torah, in the book of Bereishit, gives a great deal of prominence to lifespans.

    Many of the generations from Adam to Noach, and then from Noach to Avraham, are only known to us by their lifespans, and how old they were when they first became fathers – for it is only the men who are thus singled out.

    At the end of Bereishit (chapter 6, v3) Hashem muses that man's days shall be 120 years.

  • Vayechi 5774

    The Sidra of Vayechi begins with the information that Jacob lived in the Land of Egypt for 17 years, and that he was now 147 years old. It would seem that these 17 years were the happiest years of his life. The mediaeval commentator Rabbi David Kimchi makes the observation that Joseph was 17 when he was abducted from his home. Jacob looked after his beloved and son Joseph for 17 years and Joseph looked after his beloved father for 17 years. The Torah teaches us that we have a duty to look after our parents in their old age, in the same way as they have looked after us in our youth.

  • Vayechi 2013

    In this week’s sidrah, we read of the passing away of Yaakov. However, prior to his death he blessed all of his children, as well as Efraim and Menashe, his grandchildren. In fact, his blessing to Efraim and Menashe was so powerful that Jewish parents all over the world utter this blessing every Shabbat, when they bless their sons; “Yaakov blessed them saying ‘by you shall Israel bless saying, ‘may G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe’”.

    Why is this blessing so special and what was so great about Efraim and Menashe?

  • Vayechi 2012

    In this week's sidrah, we see that Ya'akov lived in Egypt for 17 years and the Jewish people have settled in an area of Egypt called Goshen. What's most unusual, is that Ya'akov is about to die, but we are told in the Torah that a messenger came to Yosef informing him that his father was ill. This is the first time in the Torah that a person had forewarning via illness that they were going to pass away.

  • Vayehchi 5773

    The Sidra of Vayechi begins, in the Torah scroll, in a unique way. All the others Sidrot begin on a new line, or on the same line, with the space of nine letters separating from them the previous Sidra. But this Sidra begins in the middle of the paragraph, without any break. It seems that the early Sof’rim, scribes, regarded the report that Jacob lived in Egypt for 17 years, and was very happy, as a continuation of the report that the Israelites were very prosperous in the land of Goshen, with which the Sidra of Vayigash ends.

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