Posted by: mosesfromsinai | December 23, 2012

Vayichee – And He Lived

The week’s Torah reading, beginning on Sunday – Yom Rishon, which is the 10th of Teves, is Vayichee.  The 10th of Teves was the day the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar besieged and surrounded Jerusalem.  Later the Beis Hamkidosh would be destroyed by this King.  Thus the 10th of Teves marks the beginning of the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh and the Babylonian exile and so it was made a fast day.

In the Parsha we again find a very strange thing.  Moses is watching this and cannot believe what he sees.

Yakov is on his death-bed and Yoseph comes with his two sons, Menashe and Ephraim. Yakov is about to bless the two boys  who are now to be part of the 12 Tribes of Israel.  Yoseph had arranged them so that the oldest, Menashe should be blessed with Yakov’s right hand and Ephraim, the youngest, would be blessed with the left hand.  Yakov switches and places his right hand on Ephraim and his left hand on Menashe. (Okay, Yoseph go and switch hands – which he does try).  (Moses, sitting upstairs on Mt. Sinai is watching and asking what now?)

Yakov explains, in front of the boys, that Ephraim is going to be greater  than Menashe and so he gets the right hand. (Right on Zaddie – smart move.  Do you remember what happened years ago when you showed clear favoritism?  Hmm, Yoseph was almost killed by his other brothers, thrown into a pit and sold here to Egypt as a slave.)  (Moses is wondering as is Yoseph, what is going on here?).

We who read this may have the same question.

Our exile that we are now in is due to the hatred we had toward each other.  When the brothers came to Egypt and Yoseph revealed himself, they were no longer jealous and yet he was almost a King.  They even bowed to him as indicated in the prophecy Yoseph had told them in his youth years ago.  They regretted their negative harsh actions toward Yoseph.

Yakov was perhaps indicating the key to the final redemption though he was prevented from clearly telling them.  I am going to give preference to Ephraim, the youngest and Menashe, the oldest  has to still maintain the same love toward his brother.  Jealousy led to the sale of Yoseph and led to the exile in Mitzrayim, Egypt.  All future exiles are called Mitzrayim, which also means limitations.

The word Mitzrayiim begins with the Hebrew letter Mem.  When our love for one another is without limitations, no jealousy, then as the Torah reading of Vayichee ends as does the Book of Biraishis with a Mem it will not refer to Mitzrayim, limitations, but rather to Moshiach which begins with Mem.

We end the first Sefer of the Torah in Egypt, Mitzrayim, but with the key to redemption in the final letter which can also mean Moshiach by our love towards each other.  Let us work on our Ahavas Yisroel, love, to change the 10th of Teves and the other fasts associated with the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh and the Exile into festivals with Moshiach.

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