Parashat Vayechi

Sibling rivalry presents as a major source of conflict throughout the book of Bereshit. At the conclusion of the section of sons’ blessings, the Torah states “Every one according to his blessing, he [Yaakov] blessed them.” (Genesis 49:28) The Midrash in Genesis Rabbah 97:1 explains that the Torah states “he blessed them” rather than “he blessed him,” as would be grammatically appropriate, to teach us that Yaakov gave an equally unique blessing to each son. The Torah ultimately emphasizes that in his last days, Yaakov was careful to not use favoritism when distributing the blessings.

In this final Parasha of the book of Bereshit, we see how Yaakov has grown to rise above repeating his own patterns of favoritism, which contributed to sibling rivalry in his generation and the generations before him. The Midrash’s interpretation of this Pasuk demonstrates how Yaakov laid the groundwork for a less competitive and more collaborative family dynamic, as the Jewish people began their next chapter in the land of Egypt. Chazak Chazak V’Nitchazek!

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2 Responses to Parashat Vayechi

  1. Anthony says:

    Question: Would God have been looking at Esau’s descendants as the chosen people if Esau, and not Jacob, had received Issac’s blessing? Maybe Rebecca knew what she was doing when she urged Jacob to trick Isaac.

  2. Anthony says:

    The Red Tent (Anita Diamont) portrays Dinah’s encounter with Shechem as consenting. Yet the Torah does not seem to hint at either viewpoint. Maybe someone more fluent in Hebrew than I can tell me if there is an implcation either way. A consenting encounter would indicate that Levi’s and Simeon’s reaction was unjustified. However, if Hashem’s plan was to create a “chosen people”, this would imply that they remain distinct and separate from other cultures. Whether Jacob was indeed aware of Hashem’s plan, or if he was, whether he agreed with it, is debatable, but the actions of his sons seems to have fulfilled Hashem’s plan, no matter the nature of Dinah’s encounter with Shechem or Jacob’s feelings about Hashem’s plan. This story in Parashat Vayechi seems to argue against intermarriage.

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