Vayechi 5779-2018

“Jacob Blesses His Grandchildren”

What were the special characteristics of Ephraim and Menashe that earned them the honor of serving as paradigms in the parents' Shabbat blessings for their male children throughout Jewish history?

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Vayechi 5777-2017

“The Passing of the Last of the Patriarchs”

According to tradition, Jacob was the first man to die of disease. The world is still unresolved regarding the benefits of a sudden death as opposed to a long terminal illness.

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Bereshith 5775-2014

“The Sad Destiny of the Firstborn Children”

A prominent feature of the book of Genesis is the struggle for dominance between the first born and the younger siblings. In each instance, the younger sibling is chosen to serve as leader.

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Vayigash 5763-2002

"Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers: The Triumph of Jewish Identity"

Although Joseph remains thoroughly committed to G-d and to monotheism, he seems to be rather ambivalent about his own "Jewish identity." As soon as Joseph is summoned to Pharaoh, he shaves and changes his clothes. After he successfully interprets Pharaoh's dreams, he is dressed in garments of fine linen and has a gold chain placed around his neck. Pharaoh then gives him an Egyptian name, Tzofnat Panayach, and Osnat, the daughter of Potiphera, the High Priest of On, as a wife. Joseph even gives his children names that are critical of his previous life in Canaan and extol life in Egypt. In the end, however, Joseph re-embraces his identity--a true triumph of Joseph's inner spirit.

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Mikeitz 5762-2001

"A Dysfunctional Family becomes Functional"

The saga of Joseph and his family is fundamentally the story of an immature young man who must outgrow his narcissism and self-absorption. It is the story of the assimilationist, Joseph, who shaves off his beard, changes his clothes, is given an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife. But in the end, Joseph stands up and declares: "I am Joseph, I'm not an Egyptian, I'm not an assimilator. Is my father still alive?" He answers with a resounding, "Yes, my father is alive. I am Joseph."

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