This week’s Torah portion is by Nitzchiya, a member of the PunkTorah community. Submit your own d’var Torah by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I received the email from Patrick inviting folks to participate in reading a Torah portion my initial reaction was that of hesitant excitement. I got to thinking about how great this would be, giving me the opportunity to publically announce my faith in the G-D of Israel-of my “newly discovered” ancestors.
Parashat Vayechi turned out be extremely personal showing me how Hashem has supreme insight into all. Through Torah, He reveals how to acquire a better understanding of our father. But the miraculous part comes when we gain a relevancy for ourselves and our lives by way of Torah. Here is what I learned about me and my present situation.
Picture it… Egypt on a cool balmy evening in a comfortable Kemetic dwelling on a fertile piece of desert plain lives Jacob aka Israel, the beloved patriarch to the Hebrew people. Parashat Vayechi lets us know Jacob has come to the end of his life, requesting the audience of his sons. He is about to reveal his most important decrees to his heirs that will affect the Jewish people down thru the ages…including you and me. Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob, visits with his father during which Jacob tells him,” upon my death I want you to bury me in Canaan, the land of my forefathers”. Joseph wanted to please his father, but knew it wouldn’t be easy since Jacob was so well liked and respected by the Egyptians they would surely want him to be buried among them.
Jacob was so adamant about it that he insisted Joseph hold him under his thigh helping him to sit upright, inferring the closeness between father and son, causing him to swear to it…Joseph at that point had no other choice (if you want your kid to do what you ask, guilt them thru love to do it, works every time).
By sun down, Joseph was informed by a servant that his dad had taken a turn for the worse and was requesting to see his grandsons. Joseph goes out to collect kids and his brothers to gather around their father Jacobs’s bed side. Ephraim and Manasseh arrived first. We can be sure that each one of Jacob’s sons was sure in their heads about what they would individually get; but Jacob had other plans because G-D did. Jacob was filled with the purpose that G-D had infused in him and he wasted no time in portioning out his decrees. Jacob reminded his sons of their individual actions, telling them that sometimes we do things that can affect not only the present, but the future generations to come-both for the good and the bad. So in everything we do, we must decide whether we want to be a blessing or a curse. Joseph through his actions in the past caused his descendants to be blessed by Jacob first. G-D recalled the affliction of Joseph when he was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery and despite the hardships he went through, Joseph saved his family from starvation, impending death and forgave them all for their treachery. Hashem wielded his justice (not vengeance) against Josephs brothers through their inheritance because that was the only way they would learn and accept responsibility for their cruelty and angst against Joseph and save the Jewish progeny.
Eventually we, the descendants of Israel’s sons, were scattered to the world. But through the promises and the grace of Hashem our folks are gathering back to Israel once again. An Ashkenazi cousin contacted me on Facebook (we found one another through
DNA testing) sharing with me some family history. He is planning to make Aliyah to Israel. Once it’s confirmed, guess who is going on holiday in Israel!?
Parashat Vayechi speaks to me about reconciliation and forgiveness, helping us to realize that everything we do is seen by G-D , He never forgets and because He is not on our time frame He will always catch up. Lucky for me, I’m found.