11 Tishrei 5781 / Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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Parshat Vayechi    

Parshat Vayechi

Yaakov (Jacob) lives the final 17 years of his life in Egypt. Before his passing, he asks Yosef (Joseph) to take an oath...


Parshat Vayechi
(Bereishit 47:28-50:26)
Yaakov (Jacob) lives the final 17 years of his life in Egypt. Before his passing, he asks Yosef (Joseph) to take an oath that he will bury him in the Holy Land. He blesses Yosef's two sons, Menasheh and Ephraim, elevating them to the status of his own sons as progenitors of tribes within the nation of Israel.
The patriarch desires to reveal the end of days to his children, but is prevented from doing so. Yaakov blesses his sons, assigning to each his role as a tribe: Yehudah will produce leaders, legislators and kings; priests will come from Levi, scholars from Issachar, seafarers from Zebulun, schoolteachers from Shimon, soldiers from Gad, judges from Dan, olive growers from Asher, and so on. Reuven is rebuked for "confusing his father's marriage;" Shimon and Levi for the massacre of Shechem and the plot against Yosef. Naphtali is granted the swiftness of a deer, Binyomin the ferociousness of a wolf, and Yosef is blessed with beauty and fertility.
A large funeral procession consisting of Yaakov's descendants, Pharaoh's ministers, the leading citizens of Egypt and the Egyptian cavalry accompanies Yaakov on his final journey to the Holy Land, where he is buried in the Machpeilah Cave in Chevron (Hebron).
Yosef, too, dies in Egypt, at the age of 110. He, too, instructs that his bones be taken out of Egypt and buried in the Holy Land, but this would come to pass only with the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt many years later. Before his passing, Yosef conveys to the Children of Israel the testament from which they will draw their hope and faith in the difficult years to come: "God will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which he swore to Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchak (Isaac) and Yaakov (Jacob)."

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