Vayechi 5780-2020

"The Critical Importance of Timing"
(updated and revised from Vayechi 5760-1999)

When blessing his children, Jacob says of Reuben that he has all the natural advantages of the firstborn child in rank and in power. Retreating suddenly, Jacob declares that Reuben is impetuous like water and therefore cannot be the foremost. As we study the actions, deeds and words of Reuben, we find that he is a good person, who is extremely good-hearted and well-intentioned. Reuben is always ready to do the right thing. Unfortunately, his timing is off, intending to do the right thing, but at the wrong time. As important as actions and words are, timing is at least as critical.

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Vayeishev 5779-2018

“The Mystical Aspects of the Sale of Joseph”

The sale of Joseph by his brothers certainly impacted on the course of Jewish history. The story behind the sale is especially fascinating in its consequences.

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0 Comments9 Minutes

Vayechi 5776-2015

“Jacob Maintains a Bitter Grudge Against Simeon and Levi”

Why does the patriarch Jacob seem to be more angry with Simeon and Levi at the end of his life, than when they attacked and killed all the men of Shechem?

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0 Comments12 Minutes

Vayeishev 5775-2014

"Who Sold Joseph?"

The Biblical verses regarding the sale of Joseph conceal more than they reveal, leaving the answer to the question of who sold Joseph entirely ambiguous.

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0 Comments11 Minutes

Vayeishev 5773-2012

“Heaven-Sent Spices”

A seemingly simple verse about Joseph’s brothers sitting down to eat bread, and seeing an Ishmaelite caravan from afar, proves to be a treasure-trove of insights into human nature that has broad and far-reaching implications.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayeishev 5769-2008

"'Fressing' While Rome Burns"

Were Joseph's brothers evil gluttons who were totally indifferent to their brother's fate, or was the Al-mighty orchestrating the events here in order to achieve a greater good?

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Vayechi 5768-2007

"The Struggle Over the Birthright"

It cannot be mere coincidence that in every single instance in the book of Genesis the firstborn child never emerges with the birthright. The Torah wishes to teach that it is not an accident of birth that determines one's stature, but rather personal merit and the quality of one's life.

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0 Comments6 Minutes

Matot-Masei 5767-2007

"Vindicated Before G-d and Before People"

In parashat Matot, when the tribes of Reuben and Gad (and later half of Menashe) decided to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan, Moses suspected rebellion on the part of the people and feared that it may lead to tragedy. When Moses is convinced that the tribes intend to do their share in the battle against the Canaanites, he agrees to let them stay on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses tells the tribes that if they do their share in the battle, "they will be vindicated before G-d and before Israel." What does this notion of vindication mean?

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayeira 5767-2006

"Choosing The Right Neighbors"

In parashat Vayeira, Abraham moves from Elonei Mamrei to Gerar. Our rabbis wonder why. Abraham's move can be instructive to us in our efforts to select the proper community in which to live.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Vayechi 5763-2002

"How Important is Timing?"

When blessing his children, Jacob says of Reuben that he has all the natural advantages of the firstborn child in rank and in power. Jacob then retreats suddenly, declaring that Reuben is impetuous like water and therefore cannot be the foremost. As we study the actions, deeds and words of Reuben we find a good person--good-hearted and well-intentioned. Reuben is always ready to do the right thing. Unfortunately, his timing is off, intending to do the right thing, but, unfortunately, at the wrong time. As important as actions and words are, timing is just as critical.

Read More


0 Comments10 Minutes

Vayechi 5760-1999

"How Important is Timing?"

When blessing his children, Jacob says of Reuben that he has all the natural advantages of the firstborn child in rank and in power. Jacob then retreats suddenly, declaring that Reuben is impetuous like water and therefore cannot be the foremost. As we study the actions, deeds and words of Reuben we find a good person--good-hearted and well-intentioned. Reuben is always ready to do the right thing. Unfortunately, his timing is off, intending to do the right thing, but, unfortunately, at the wrong time. As important as actions and words are, timing is just as critical.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes