September 19, 2019 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Va-Y'Chi (3)

Parshah Va-Y'hi closes out Bereshit (Genesis) on a somber note. After the death of Jacob there is mourning and - with Pharaoh's permission - his remains are transported to Canaan. Joseph's death is reported differently: "Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt." (Gen. 50:26) Not only is there no report about how he is mourned by his family (he was now a great-grandfather) but the funeral arrangements are decidedly Egyptian. In the verse prior he makes the "sons of Israel" - who would soon be so numerous that they would be called Israelites - promise that when God someday "takes notice" of them, they should transport his bones out of Egypt. Not only is it a foreshadowing of them actually doing so at the time of the Exodus, as we'll read in a few weeks, it is a subtle indicator of what's going on in Egypt. For all his power, Joseph remained subservient to Pharaoh. Joseph had many admirable qualities, but his is a path that we are not asked to emulate.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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