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Parshat Vayechi                                                        January 7, 2023    14 Tevet, 5783
                                                          Rabbi Sacks on Vayechi

                     TORAH              If you want to understand   important. In the next chapter   turn the page and begin the
                                        what a book is about, look
                                                                 – the first of Exodus – the
                                                                                             book of Exodus, we
               ARTSCROLL 268            carefully at how it ends.   Israelites are, for the first time,  discover that the position of
                  HERTZ  180            Genesis ends with three   described as a people. It is hard  the Israelites in Egypt was
                                        deeply significant scenes.   to see how they could live   very vulnerable indeed, and
                                        First, Jacob blesses his
                                                                                             all the power Joseph had
                                                                 together as a people if they
                  HAFTORAH              grandsons, Ephraim and   could not live together as a   centralised in the hands of
               ARTSCROLL  1145          Menashe. This is the blessing  family.               Pharaoh would eventually
                  HERTZ  191            that Jewish parents use on   Third, after the death of Jacob,   be used against them.
                                        Friday night to bless their   the brothers asked Joseph to   Genesis is not about power.
                                                                                             It is about families. Because
                                                                 forgive them, which he does.
                                        sons. My predecessor Lord
                                        Jakobovits used to ask, why   He had also done so earlier.   that is where life together
                                        this blessing of all the   Evidently, the brothers harbour  begins.
                     Times              blessings in the Torah? He   the suspicion that he was   The Torah does not imply
                   (Monday Edition)     gave a beautiful reply. He   merely biding his time until   that there is anything easy
                                          said, all the others are from   their father died, as Esau at one  about making and
           Week of  1/1                 fathers to sons – and between  point resolved to do. Sons do   sustaining a family. The
                                        fathers and sons there can be  not take revenge within the   patriarchs and matriarchs –
           Mon                 7:30/8:30am   tension. Jacob’s blessing of   family while the father is alive –  Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel
           Tue (Fast of Tevet)   6:30/7:45am   Ephraim and Menashe is the   that seems to have been the   especially – know the agony
           Fast Begins            5:51am   only instance in the Torah of   principle in those days. Joseph   of infertility. They know
           Fast Ends              5:17pm   a grandparent blessing a   speaks directly to their fears   what it is to wait in hope
           Mincha                 4:15pm   grandchild. And between   and puts them at rest. “You   and wait again.
                                          grandparents and       intended to harm me but God   Sibling rivalry is a repeated
           Wed/Fri             6:45/7:45am
                                        grandchildren there is no   intended it for good,” he says.   theme of the book. The
           Thur                6:35/7:45am   tension, only pure love.   The Torah is telling us an   Psalm tells us “how good
           Mincha                 4:30pm   Second, Jacob blesses his   unexpected message here: the   and pleasant it is for
                                        twelve sons. There is    family is prior to all else, to the  brothers to dwell together.”
            Shabbat 1/7                   discernible tension here. His   land, the nation, politics,   It might have added, “and
                                        blessings to his eldest three   economics, the pursuit of power  how rare.” Almost at the
           Candle Lighting        4:24pm
                                        sons, Reuven, Shimon, and   and the accumulation of wealth.  beginning of the human
           Mincha                 4:30pm   Levi, read more like curses   From an external point of view,  story, Cain kills Abel. There
                                        than blessings. Yet the fact is  the impressive story is that   are tensions between Sarah
           Hashkama               8:00am    that he is blessing all twelve   Joseph reached the heights of   and Hagar that lead to
           Parsha Shiur                      8:30am   together in the same room at  power in Egypt, the Egyptians   Hagar and Ishmael being
                                        the same time. We have not   themselves mourned the death   sent away. There is rivalry
           Main                              9:00am   seen this before. There is no   of his father Jacob and   between Jacob and Esau,
           Youth                             9:00am   record of Abraham blessing   accompanied the family on their  and between Joseph and his
                                        either Ishmael or Isaac. Isaac  way to bury him, so that the   brothers, in both cases
           Beit Midrash                      9:15am   blesses Esau and Jacob   Canaanites, seeing the   coming close to murder.
           Gemara Shiur                      3:50pm   separately. The mere fact that  entourage said, “The Egyptians  Yet there is no diminution
                                        Jacob is able to gather his   are holding a solemn ceremony  of the significance of the
           Mincha                            4:20pm   sons together is   of mourning” (Gen. 50:11). But  family. To the contrary, it is
                                        unprecedented, and       that is externality. When we   the main vehicle of
           Shabbat Ends                      5:33pm
                                                    Seudah Shlishit is sponsored by Lillian & Gary Chubak
                    Latest Times for                  In Memory Of His Father Benjamin Chubak, z”l
                 Shema/Shemoneh Esrei
                                                               and by Ellen & Dale Polakoff
                                                       in Memory of Her Father Casper Pinsker, z”l
           January 7          9:40/10:27am
                                              Bima Flowers are sponsored by Josh Windsor & Norma Bilbool
           January  14        9:40/10:28am
                                                         to celebrate Jonathan Windsor earning
                                                        a Master of Finance from Baruch College
                                                   and to honor the 13  anniversary of his Bar-Mitzvah
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