(Haftara: Kings I 2:1-12)
1. [49:3] “Reuven, myfirst-born, you are my strength and the beginning of my power…” Why is Ya’akov’s first born called thebeginning of his power? How do one’schildren bring him or her power?
2. [49:7] “Let their anger be cursed…I will disperse them in Ya’akov and scatter them in Israel.” Ya’akov thinks that violence will be reduced by scattering Shimon and Levi. However,perhaps violence will increase by their contact and influence on more people.Why would Ya’akov think that by spreading them around, their violence would be reduced?
3. [49:20] “From Asher will come the fattest bread, he will provide the king’s delights.” This is Asher’s complete blessing. Asher will have very tasty food and give it to others. How is this a serious blessing or even a serious description. Is there a symbolic meaning here which points to something spiritual? What is the meaning of this blessing?
4. [49:28] “And he blessedthem–each person according to his blessing…” Many of these
blessings seem more like Ya’akov telling his sons about their true nature. How can telling a person about his true nature be a blessing?
5. [Melachim 1, 2:7] “Showkindness to the sons of Barzilai…” David asks Shlomo to be kind to those who showed kindness to David. Pay back the kindness. But David knows that real kindness does not want to be repaid. Why is this so important that it is among David’s last words to his son?
An illumination constantly flows from the source of the Torah. It brings light from the highest realm of the Divine. It includes within it the values of the spiritual and the material, the temporal and the eternal, the ethical and the practical, the individual and thegroup, the smallest details and the cosmic truths. These bring life to all who are in contact with them, and guard them in their purity.
–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memoryof Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben EliyahuKummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer