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December 30, 2023: Parashah Torah Portion Vayechi

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Vayechi is taken from Genesis 47:28-50:26. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he describes the conclusion of Yoseph's life on a subluminal note, bringing comfort to his brothers hearts, harkening on the underlying message that life has a purpose, a point, a plot, and that ELOHIM is at work behind the scenes!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:

Parashah Torah Portion Vayechi. The conclusion of Joseph's life.

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Vayechi - Genesis 47:28-50:26

Beresheet ends on a sublime note of reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers…forgiveness and repentance being a key to last week’s portion.  His brothers were afraid that Joseph was just delaying his revenge until Ya’akov died.  So, after Ya’akov’s death they expressed their fear.  Gen 50:19-21 says, “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid!  Am I in the place of Elohim?   You meant to do me harm, but Elohim meant it for good-so that it would come about as it is today, with many people’s lives being saved.  So don’t be afraid- I will provide for you and your little ones. In this way he comforted them, speaking kindly to them.”


This is a crucial moment in history as forgiveness is born!  It is the first recorded moment at which one person forgives another for a wrong they have done.  It also reveals another important principle:  Divine Providence!  We need to understand that life has a purpose, a point, and a plot and that Elohim is at work behind the scenes.  Elohim knowing the end from the beginning shapes our ends!


Joseph’s greatness is that he sensed Elohim in everything and that nothing in his life had happened by accident.  It didn’t matter whether it was the plot to kill him, to sell him into slavery, false accusations, time in prison, many disappointments, or broken expectations all these could have cast depression, developed a pity party or even give rise to the common question, ”Why Me?”  We see that all of those events in his life, no matter how crushing, were necessary for his destiny!


Joseph’s journey, the purpose of Elohim in his life, required each and every event for Elohim’s destiny to be successful.  However, what did Joseph have that each of us need to possess?  He possessed the perspective that everything has purpose which gives us the ability to keep going despite opposition, envy, false accusation and repeated setbacks.  If we live one hour…we face opposition!  To live is to have conflicts!  To live is to face envy!  To live is to have rivals!  Korach thought, “Why wasn’t it me?” when dealing with Moses and Aaron.  The brothers of Joseph were jealous of their father’s love toward him.  These setbacks can kill you or propel you…the choice is yours!  There are many things that sustain people through repeated setbacks, such as, belief in themselves, sheer tenacity or a lack of alternative.  What sustained Joseph?  Insight into divine providence!  A plan was unfolding whose end he could only dimly discern but at some stage he seems to have realized that he was one of the characters in a far larger drama.  He realized that all the bad things that happened to him were necessary if the intended outcome was to occur!  “It was not you who sent me here, but Elohim.”


His willingness to let events work themselves out in accordance with providence, this understanding that we are at best no more than co-authors of our lives lets us understand that his perception enabled Joseph to survive without resentment about the past or despair in the face of the future.  Joseph’s trust in Elohim gave him immense strength and that is what we need!


Whatever people have done to you or whatever malice they harbor against you…If you can say: “You intended to harm me, but Elohim intended it for good!” …then you will survive!  In fact, your strength will be intact and your life will continue to have meaning and purpose! Joseph was able to extend forgiveness to his brothers!


Each of us should not only possess the character of Joseph but also the character of Yehudah.  Joseph and Yehudah possessed different strengths; each one a “king” in his unique domain.  The name Yehudah is rooted in the Hebrew word “hoda’ah” meaning acknowledgement and submission and represents action.  It is an acknowledgement that we are merely servants of the Creator who must implement the Divine Will whether or not we comprehend its meaning and purpose! 


Joseph means to increase and represents the powers of intellect and emotion; qualities which develop with maturity and experience.  The

6-year-old girl that lights the Shabbat candles just as her mother does, the difference between the two lies in the understanding and appreciation of the mitzvah.  We are commanded to understand Torah and love Elohim but we must also serve Elohim because this is what He commanded us to do.


Yehudah studied the Torah and labored on refining his personality while Joseph unconditionally submitted to Elohim’s will.  The difference between the two tribes was emphasis!  Yehudah emphasized the primary action whereas Joseph stressed the importance of developing our Elohim given talents.  Ya’akov chose Yehudah to establish a yeshiva in Egypt because in times of exile, turmoil and hardship it is Yehudah’s legacy which ensures our continued allegiance to Elohim and His Holy Torah!


The heart and mind can be manipulated and swayed by suffering and trials but our inherent submission to Elohim can withstand any challenge that might come our way. Teaching our youth and children how to study Torah is important but not the most important because the key to their survival is educators who follow the spirit of Yehudah…birthing in our children a sense of duty, their duties toward Elohim, this world, and each other!


As we look at Joseph and see that Ya’akov’s blessing of his Ephraim and Manasseh are important to us and important to our children, so we pray over them every Sabbath and ask them to be like them.  In Genesis 48:15-16 it says, “He blessed Joseph: “The Elohim in whose presence my fathers Abraham and Yitz’chak lived, the Elohim who has been my own shepherd all my life long to this day, the angel who has rescued me from all harm, bless these boys.  May they remember who I am and what I stand for, and likewise my father’s Abraham and Yitz’chak, who they were and what they stood for.  And may they grow into teeming multitudes on the earth.”


Ya’akov is asking that his name and the name of his fathers may live on in the boys and that they will walk in the same blessings and covenant relationship that Elohim placed on the patriarchs.  As we pray for our children, both boys and girls, we are asking for their inclusion in the Abrahamic legacy of covenant and blessing!  We want them to be a reckoned part of the covenant and blessings Elohim bestowed on Abraham, Isaac and Ya’akov! Can I hear an Amen?


Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,


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Have a great Sabbath and I will see you at the altar!   Shalom Aleichem



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