Parashah #12: Vayechi “He lived”
B’reshit (Genesis) 47:28-50:26
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Blessings are a powerful thing. Like the Scriptures says in Proverbs that Life and Death is in the Power of the tongue. Blessings are more than just an, “I wish you well.” In Hebraic thought they hold prophetic significance. So every time we bless our sons and daughters on Shabbat, we are shaping their future and speaking life into their tomorrow. There is a danger is speaking half hearted or blessings you don’t mean, they speak death into a person. Case in point when Rivkah’s (Rebecca’s) brother and relatives really didn’t want her to go be with Isaac the cultural expected blessing was turned into a curse of infertility. In our Torah portion Jacob on his death bed blessed his sons and in our Haftarah portion we see the last wishes were common on a Hebraic deathbed.
I Kings 2:1-12
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel. Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.
David wanted Solomon to take care of unfinished business.
BRIT CHADASHA #12
2 Tim. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
Rav Sha’ul’s (Apostle Paul’s) “deathbed” confession was that he had no regrets. Many of us will not be lucky enough to have last words such as David or Jacob, so we need to live our lives in such away as the way we live itself is a blessing, a commission to keep on keeping on and a testimony of no regrets.
“Chazak, Chazak V’nitchazek!”
“Be Strong! Be Strong! And let us be strengthened!”
Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr