September 19, 2019 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -Vayechi

Jacob’s at it again. In Parshah Va-Yhi he’s blessing Josephs’ sons but he insists on favoring the younger boy. Joseph tries to correct him but Jacob is having none of it, insisting both will be great, but the younger will be greater: “Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.” (Gen. 48:20). Did you notice what happens next? If you answered, “Nothing,” you’re right, and that’s what’s significant. Throughout Genesis there have been rivalries among siblings, often with tragic results: Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers. Now, in spite of what might have been taken as a provocation, there is no indication at all of any enmity between Joseph’s sons. Perhaps this is the true climax of the first book of the Torah, which we conclude this week. The siblings who will be our focus in future weeks – Aaron, Miriam and Moses – may have their differences but, in the end, they help each other as family.

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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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