Shemot – Chamishi

December 14, 2013, by

G-d told Moshe to gather the elders of the people and tell them that G-d had sent him to take them out of Egypt to the Holy Land; G-d gave Moshe the “password” that Yoseif had communicated on his deathbed. (Compare 3:16 here with Genesis 50:24-25.) Moshe and the elders were to approach Pharaoh and […]

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Shemot – Shishi

December 14, 2013, by

Moshe said goodbye to his father-in-law, here called Yeser. Before Moshe left, G-d appeared to tell him that anyone who wanted to execute him for his earlier actions was already deceased. (Well, that’s one less thing to worry about!) Tzipporah had just had another baby; Moshe put his wife and sons on a donkey and […]

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Shemot – Sh’vi’i

December 14, 2013, by

Moshe and Aharon went to Pharaoh with the instruction to release the Jews so that they might go and serve G-d. Pharaoh’s reply was, “G-d? Who’s G-d? I don’t know any G-d!” He accused the Jews of slacking and told them to get back to work. “If the Jews have so much free time on […]

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Shemot – Haftarah

December 14, 2013, by

In obvious parallel to the Torah reading, the haftarah discusses redemption, starting with the actual fact of the Jewish return and “rooting” in their Land, but focusing more with the (sometimes unpleasant) steps leading up to the redemption. For Jews stuck in Exile, the promise of return might itself be attractive enough, but the Talmud […]

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Vayechi – Rishon

December 7, 2013, by

Yaakov lived in Egypt for 17 years. When he saw that he wouldn’t live much longer, he sent for Yoseif. Yaakov asked his son to use his royal privilege to ensure that he be buried in the Machpela cave, alongside his fathers; Yoseif promised to do so. Some time later, Yaakov took a turn for […]

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Vayechi – Sheini

December 7, 2013, by

Yaakov’s vision wasn’t great. Yoseif brought his sons near his father, who kissed them. “I never thought I’d see YOU again,” he told Yoseif, “but G-d even allowed me to see your sons!” Yoseif took his sons and positioned them properly for their blessing, with Ephraim on Yaakov’s left and Menashe on his right. Yaakov […]

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Vayechi – Shlishi

December 7, 2013, by

When Yoseif saw how his father had positioned his hands, he tried to correct what he thought was a mistake. He went to move Yaakov’s right hand from Ephraim’s head to Menashe’s. “The other one is the first-born,” he told his father. “I know,” Yaakov replied. “He will also be a great nation, but the […]

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Vayechi – R’vi’i

December 7, 2013, by

Next, Yaakov blessed his sons. He gathered them together, saying that he would tell them what would happen in the “end of days.” While he was not permitted to reveal the time of the final redemption and the Messianic era, his blessings do contain allusions to many future events. First, Yaakov addressed Reuven, his first-born. […]

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Vayechi – Chamishi

December 7, 2013, by

In a nice bit of Hebrew word play that really doesn’t translate, Yaakov says that Gad may be attacked by enemy forces, but he will strike them back. Asher will produce all the finest delicacies, fit for a king. Naftali was compared to a swift and beautiful deer. Yoseif was praised for his beauty. He […]

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Vayechi – Shishi

December 7, 2013, by

Yaakov compared Binyamin to a wolf that grabs in the morning; this is seen as an allusion to King Saul, from the Binyamin, who “grabbed” the throne in the early days of the nation, before the start of the Davidic dynasty. Yaakov instructed his sons to bury him in the Machpela cave, alongside Avraham, Sarah, […]

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