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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Vayechi

An Overview of the Torah Portion

Parasha Summary - Vayechi

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Our Sedra, the last in Sefer Breisheit, describes Yakov’s actions before he dies. He makes Yosef swear to bury him in Israel & then blesses Yosef and sons Efraim and Menashe. When Yosef protests that Efraim is the younger son, Yakov insists on granting him the greater bracha, placing him at his right-hand side. In fact, boys will be blessed forever by the phrase, "May you be like Efraim and Menashe."

Yakov then blesses each of his sons separately, focusing on the character and mission each has in life. Yehuda is given the preeminent bracha, singled out as leader and future King of the nation.

Yakov dies at age 147 and is brought by his sons and a large Egyptian entourage to his final resting place at Maarat HaMachpela. There he is buried next to his wife Leah, near his parents and grandparents.

Upon returning to Egypt, Yosef’s brothers fear that Yosef will take revenge upon them for their crime. But Yosef assures them he is not vengeful and will provide for their families in Goshen.

The Parsha - and Sefer - conclude with Yosef making Bnei Yisrael pledge to carry his bones with them back to Eretz Yisrael when they go. Yosef, the first of the Shvatim to pass away, dies at the age of 110.

At the Sefer’s conclusion, we (except for the person called up for this Aliya) recite, "Chazak, Chazak V'Nitchazek."
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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