Shabbat Shalom Dear Readers Parshat Vayechi 5775

January 2, 2015

Yosef and Jacob

besyata

The following article is an edited version of an article that appeared last year on Globe Tribune.Info.

 

This week, Parshat (Torah portion) Vayechi, candle lighting will be at 4:22 PM in Brooklyn, NY, which is 18 minutes before sunset, which marks the actual beginning of Shabbat. . Chabad.org has a section of their web site that has candle lighting for your locality, wherever it may be in the world. Both Chabad.org and Aish.com have articles on the parsha and on many other topics that can be printed out and read on Shabbat.. In addition, both sites have multimedia that is suited for enjoyment during the week.

Aish.com is a huge web site. One of the best pages is an index of very short articles that bears the descriptive label of “The Daily Lift Page.” It is interesting to browse through this and read about everything from envy to  worry to gossip.

Aish.com has an article about the limitations and dangers of artificial intelligence. The article takes as its starting point Steven Hawking’s published thoughts on the subject.

Chabad.org has an article about the puzzlement experienced by many Lubavitcher chassidim when the Rebbe announced a campaign in 1967 to put tefillin on as many secular Jews as possible. Rabbi Mendel Futerfas, who had spent a long time in Siberia in the Soviet prison system known as the gulag, drew on his hard-earned experiences to shed some light on the matter.

 

In this parsha Yaakov passes away, and gives blessings to all of his sons while on his death-bed. Each blessing is tailored to the unique character of each of the twelve tribes that are descended from each of the brothers. In addition, there is an element of prophecy in each of the blessings that refers to later events that occurred in the time of the prophets.

With Yaakov’s burial, this parsha is the last Torah reading in the book of Genesis. The tone of the next book, the book of Exodus (Sh’mot), expands its focus to the Jewish people in general. Where Genesis focuses on the life of the family that later grew into a nation, Exodus is really about the life of a nation.

Moshe, Aharon and Pharaoh are the major players in the story of the Exodus. In addition to Yaakov passing away in this parsha, Joseph also passes away. The gratitude of the Egyptian to Joseph does not carry over to the descendants of his brothers.It will be seen in subsequent Torah readings that the Egyptian exile became bleak and harsh, rather than the respite it once was from famine in Canaan.

Before passing away, Joseph said as follows to his brothers and their children as follows.

G‑d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This is a promise that gives us strength today.Many of us have seen that a setback in one generation has given way to victory in subsequent generations. Life as an individual can be confusing, but it takes on a different perspective viewed as part of a bigger picture, and over a loner stretch of time. In the course of a few weeks, we pass through readings that span from the death of Jacob and the respect accorded to his children that approached that given to a royal family to the Exodus from Egypt.  In between the death of Jacob, who was seen off in a manner befitting a king, and the wondrous Exodus from Egypt was a period of enslavement and humiliation. Although we dwell mentally for only a week in each parsha, we are looking at far longer spans of years in the history of a nation. May we soon see the end of our long exile the rebuilding of our temple, and a reign of peace that will be welcomed and appreciated by all.

 

 

 

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