(Haftara: Kings I 2:1-12)
1. [48:15] “…God, whom my fathers walked in front of…” Ya’akov says that his forefathers walked in front of God. Noach, however, walked with God [6:9]. What is the difference between walking “in front of God”, and walking “with God”?
2. [48:19 ] “And his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know…” There are rabbis who say that this speech of Ya’akov’s shows a new self-confidence. Throughout his life, he was much less sure of himself, and here he reaches a final maturity. Do you agree that this sentence is so important?
3. [48:22] “…I saved them from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow”. The Aramaic translation of Onkelos translates “my sword and my bow” as “my prayer and my request”. Why is prayer compared to a sword and a bow?
4. [50:10] “…and they mourned there a very great and very heavy mourning.” The mourning for Ya’akov lasted about 3 months and was very intense. The mourning for the other forefathers and mothers was not nearly as intense. Why was the mourning for Ya’akov’s death so severe?
5. [Haftara: Melachim I, 2:7 ] “Show kindness for the sons of Barzilai the Gileadite and let them be among those that eat at your table…” King David could have told Shlomo, his son, to make sure that Barzilai’s children are always financially stable, or that they are always protected. Why is the greatest kindness expressed by the fact that they will eat at Shlomo’s table?
In this concluding sedrah of Genesis, we see the sunset of Jacob’s career…Esau, Dinah, Joseph—what a world of strife and suffering and anguish did each of these tragedies bring him—and yet he dies blessing…he possesses the rare art of extracting good from every buffeting of Destiny. He errs and he stumbles, but he ever rises again; and on the anvil of affliction his soul is forged.
—-R. Yosef Tzvi Hertz, 1872-1946, England.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg
And to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker