Weekly Reading Insights: Vayechi 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Vayechi

To be read on 13 Tevet 5765 (Dec. 25)

Torah: Genesis 47:28-50:26;  Haftorah: Kings I 2:1-12 (David's deathbed words)

Vayechi is the 12th Reading out of 12 in Genesis and 12th overall, and 44th out of 54 in overall length.

Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26): Yaacov realized that he would soon die, so he asked Yosef to swear that he would bury him with Yitzchak and Avraham in Machpeleh Cave in Hevron. Yaacov blessed Yosef's sons, Efraim and Menashe, and told Yosef that the city Shechem would be his eternal inheritance. Yaacov prophetically blessed each of his 12 sons in turn. After he died and the mourning period, Yosef got Pharaoh's permission to leave Egypt to bury his father in Israel. An entourage of Yaacov's family and Pharaoh's courtiers went to Israel with Yaacov's coffin. After returning to Egypt, the brothers worried that Yosef might still hold a grudge against then for having sold him. Yosef assured them that what occurred was Divine Providence and for the best, and promised to fully sustain them and their families. Yosef lived long and saw his great grandchildren. He made his offspring swear to take his remains out of Egypt when they would eventually return to Israel. "Chazak, Chazak, Venitchazek!"


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:12-65/Vayechi)

If G-d didn't precede them to awaken mercy on behalf of Israel by removing their sins, they would not be able to exist in the physical world.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:11-65/Vayigash)

Know that Adam was reincarnated in the Patriarchs, and that is why they are called "the fathers", after Adam, who was the first father.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

* * * * *

From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:12-65/Vayechi)

By his withholding any promises or apologies Jacob made sure that Joseph should acquire the merit of performing an act of kindness that was totally altruistic.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac." (48:16)
Jacob was afraid that the younger generation (especially Joseph's children, who were born and bred in Egypt and accustomed to the wealth of the royal palace) would assimilate among their Egyptian neighbors. To prevent this from happening, he insisted that his grandchildren keep their original Jewish names. Changing one's name is the first step toward assimilation.
(Imrei Chein)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:12-65/Vayechi)

And now your two sons...Ephraim and Menashe, are as Reuven and Shimon (Gen. 48:5)
It is only "now," when the Jewish people will enter Israel for the first time after the Exodus from Egypt, that Ephraim and Menashe will each receive a separate portion of land. When Moshiach comes, however, they will both share in the single portion of Joseph.
(Meshech Chochma)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:12-65/Vayechi)

Based on Ramach Otiot and Shulchan Shabbat

There is a Chassidic saying based on Kabbala that "The world has become wiser in the realm of secular knowledge than in past generations". This is certainly demonstrated by all of the recent technological and medical advancements. The reason for this is that since Creation, the world is constantly spiraling upward until the arrival of Mashiach and the 7th millennium. While the foundation of reality is spiritual consciousness, non-spiritual information is the waste product of this continually elevating process. As the end draws closer, the subtleties in both become more pronounced. (Ramach Otiot)

The verse recording the funeral of Jacob states, "his sons carried the casket" (Gen. 50:13). In fact, only ten of Jacob's sons actually did the carrying. Levi did not do so because in the future, the Levites would carry the Holy Ark; Joseph did not carry the casket, because he was a king. Joseph's sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, replaced Joseph and Levi, and therefore it was as if Joseph and Levi did carry. (Bamidbar Rabba 2:8)

It is hard to understand why these reasons prevented Joseph and Levi from carrying the casket, particularly Levi. After all, it would not be Levi himself who would carry the Ark in future, but rather his descendents. And if, nevertheless, carrying a casket is an impediment to carry the Holy Ark, how could Moses, himself a Levite, carry the casket of Joseph when the Jewish people left Egypt? There must be a deeper reason here.

While Jacob lived in Egypt, the exile could not begin. Jacob's passing and his funeral were a step towards the beginning of the Egyptian exile. Levi and Joseph couldn't participate in this exile-causing event because, in their essence, they were above the whole concept of exile.

As long as Joseph lived, "The forced labor of Egypt was not upon them [the Jews]" (Shemot Rabba 1:4). This is the meaning of Joseph being a king - he ruled over Egypt rather than being ruled by Egypt. Joseph's rule prevented the exile. Also, Levi prevented the exile from beginning since as long as one of the tribal heads lived, the exile was delayed, and Levi died last. Even when the slavery did begin, the Levites were exempt from labor since they were studying Torah. All of this shows that Levi was also above the exile.

But if Joseph and Levi were above the exile, why was it necessary to send Manasseh and Ephraim in their places? The reason is that each of them embodied a trait needed to survive the exile. The name "Manasseh" comes from the word "nashani", meaning "to forget" (i.e. that Joseph had forgotten his father's home that he so longed for) - referring to the desire to return to Israel (Gen. 41:51). The name "Ephraim" comes from "hafarani", meaning to be successful (that even though Joseph was in amoral Egypt he was physically and spiritually successful) - demonstrating the strength to transform darkness to light. The beginning of the exile, the funeral of Jacob, had to be countered with these two strengths through which the Jewish people would overcome the exile, and arrive whole at the Redemption.

These traits of "Manasseh" and "Ephraim" are inherent within us. We feel the desire and thirst for redemption, and simultaneously we do not allow the darkness of the exile to influence us. Rather we can transform the spiritual dark into light. Through this we will conquer this exile and merit to the true and complete redemption with Mashiach. (Shulchan Shabbat)

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here)

For all our insights for this parsha:

from last year

from two years ago

from three years ago


Back to Top


Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION