Vayechi: Time for a Kiss

People often mistakenly think that truly righteous people are somehow different, perhaps not totally "normal".  Somehow we assume that, unlike regular people, tzadikim (to paraphrase Shakespeare) "don't bleed or feel like we do". This approach is alien to Judaism.  Yaakov called for Yosef to come to his bedside so that he could impart a final message to him. Yosef hurriedly came, bringing his sons Ephraim and Menashe to be with their grandfather. Upon seeing his grandchildren, Yaakov kissed and hugged them. The Torah does not de

Vayechi: The Inconsistent Truth

"And they said, should they make our sister like a harlot?" (Breisheet 34:31). So ends round one of the debate between Yaakov on one side, and Shimon and Levi on the other, over the killing of the people of Shechem for the rape of Dinah. The Torah moves on to record Yaakov's return to Beit El as the family enters a new phase in their travels. It is on Yaakov's deathbed that we hear his response: "Shimon and Levi, the tools of violence are in their their anger they killed men" (Breisheet 49:5-6).

VaYechi: Family Ties

One of the recurring and unfortunate themes of the book of Breisheet is that of sibling rivalry and even hatred: Cain and Hevel, Yitzchak and Yishmael, Yaakov and Eisav, Leah and Rachel, Yosef and his brothers. In fact, we often see better relationships with non-Jews than with our own brothers. Thus, Avraham and Malchitzedek, and Yosef and Pharaoh, seem to have had good relationships without any hint of bitterness.

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