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December 9, 2023: Parashah Torah Portion Vayeshev

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Vayeshev is taken from Genesis 37:1-40:23. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he jumps into the storyline of Yoseph, and how in the midst of this family drama, Yaakov refuses to give up hope, being very much convinced that Yoseph was still alive! We too need to RISE UP, STAND OUR GROUND and BELIEVE!

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:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Vayeshev - Genesis 37:1-40:23

In this week’s portion we have the story of Yoseph.  We see a plot, a deception, anger, betrayal and no turning back from this storyline that is a made for a movie family drama.  The deception had taken place and Yoseph has been sold into slavery.  The brothers dipped his coat in blood after killing a male goat and took it to their father to reveal that his favorite son had been killed. Gen. 37:32 reveals the brothers coming to their father and saying, “Look what we have found.  Do you recognize it?  Is this your son’s robe or not?”  Ya’akov recognized it and replied, “It’s my son’s robe!  Some wild animal has torn Yoseph in pieces and eaten him!”  Ya’akov tore his clothes and went into mourning!  Though all his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, he refused!


 Why did Ya’akov refuse to be comforted?  He refused to be comforted because he had not yet given up hope that Yoseph was still alive.  If there is no evidence, there is still hope!  The continuing anguish is a form of loyalty.  To give up, to mourn, to be reconciled to loss is a kind of betrayal.  To refuse to be comforted is to refuse to give up hope!  Why did Ya’akov continue to hope?  He recognized the blood stain garment; he acknowledged a wild beast devoured him…do these words not mean that he has accepted that Yoseph was dead?  No, he was releasing the older sons of the responsibility of Yoseph’s death because by law the responsibility for the fate of a younger brother rested on the shoulders of the elder brother placed in charge.


Let’s look at this situation between Ya’akov and his sons:  When they returned without Yoseph normally they would be held responsible for Yoseph’s disappearance.  So, to avoid this they bring the remains as evidence.  If remains show sign of an attack by a wild animal -by law-they are innocent.  So, their statement “Examine the evidence” is a legal request…Ya’akov does examine and because of what he sees…acquits them!  Ya’akov was forced to find his sons innocent, without necessarily believing what they said. Ya’akov did not believe it and his refusal to be comforted shows that he was unconvinced!  He continued to hope that Yoseph was still alive!  That hope was eventually justified…Yoseph indeed was still alive!


In Jeremiah 31:15-17, Jeremiah was sure that the Jews would return from exile because they refused to be comforted, meaning, they refused to give up hope.  It is the same during the Babylonian exile, Psalm 137:1-6 says, “By the rivers of Bavel we sat down and wept as we remembered Tziyon.  We had hung up our lyres on the willows that were there, when those who had taken us captive asked us to sing them a song; our tormentors demanded joy from us- “Sing us one of the songs from Tziyon!”  How can we sing a song about Adonai here on foreign soil?  If I forget you, Yerushalayim, may my right-hand wither away!  May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I fail to count Yerushalayim the greatest of all my joys.”


It is said that Napoleon, passing a synagogue on Tisha B’av (9th day of Av), the annual fast commemorating the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temple and exile of the people from the land asked, “What are the Jews crying for?”  His officers said, “For Jerusalem”.  He replied, “How long ago did they lose it?”  They said, “More than 1,700 years ago.”  Napoleon said, “A people who can mourn for Jerusalem so long, will one day have it restored to them.”


We need to refuse to be comforted, because we never give up hope!  Ya’akov eventually did see Yoseph!  Rachel’s children did return to the land!  Jerusalem is once again the Jewish home!


In your life, all evidence may suggest otherwise.  You may feel like you have irretrievable loss, a decree of history that cannot be overturned, a fate that must be accepted.  But in the Book of Hebrews, it tells us to never believe the evidence.  Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Isaiah 53:1 says, “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Adonai revealed?


We don’t have to believe the evidence because we have something else to set against it… a faith, a trust, an unbreakable hope that proves stronger than anything in life.  Don’t give in!  Don’t give up! Refuse to be comforted!  Whatever you thought was dead. Whatever the evidence that has been presented to you, no matter what has been said…put your hope in Elohim and refuse to be comforted!


From a simple or maybe not so simple phrase in the life of Ya’akov…” He refused to be comforted” we see a powerful truth and principle.  When I look at this narrative, I see a relationship to Hanukkah.  Because Hanukkah represents a triumph and a decision to refuse defeat…Ya’akov was refusing defeat!


In the story of Hanukkah, it is about the strong and the weak.  Beyond the military action, the Maccabees winning over a better, stronger army (Syrian-Greek) it is about self-confidence, faith, and belief just like Ya’akov.  Hanukkah symbolizes great inner strength of the Jewish people and its firm attachment to Torah and its values.  We may waiver and weaken but by Elohim’s help and our faith we will never fail!  Inside of us is strength and resilience placed there by our past and faith. The road is never an easy one and as we approach Hanukkah it marks only the beginnings of victory and not the ultimate triumph!


Ya’akov’s life and the Hanukkah story never yield to the spirit of the enemy.  We need to let our faith rise and fight for the promise Elohim has given us.  Don’t be comforted!  These two stories show us what it will take to become what Elohim desires and that is strength of purpose and determination to live and succeed!


Don’t mourn what is not dead!  Don’t let the world comfort you as you surrender to the so-called evidence!  We need to RISE!  We need to STAND OUR GROUND!  We need to BELIEVE!  We need to EXTEND OUR FAITH!  What you thought you lost will one day be found!  Whose report will you believe?


Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

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We are living in this dark world that needs the LIGHT we can bring them.  The LIGHT of salvation, Yeshua HaMashiach!  Don’t let you light be hid under a bushel…let it be seen by all those Elohim has put in your life.  Sometimes we mourn because of our own loss…don’t believe the evidence…where is your hope?  Refuse to be comforted and stand in faith…Elohim is a Yah of miracles!  Let Him do a supernatural, spectacular thing in your life!  Are you ready?  See you at the altar!


Shalom Aleichem

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