Torah Commentary

Parashat Va-y'chi is a Reminder to Keep Hope Alive

December 27, 2020Rabbi Michael Dolgin

I find it hard to believe that we have already arrived at the last portion in the book of Genesis! By now, the matriarchs and patriarchs are like old friends: We’ve seen them celebrate and mourn, laugh and cry, hug

Using Our “God-Sparks” to Reconcile Our Relationships

December 27, 2020Chris Harrison and Rabbi Dara Lithwick
The book of B’reishit is, in essence, one big, messy story about family. While the relationships discussed in this book are imperfect, they matter because people matter. Imperfect as these families are, they’re still sacred because God exists as the connection between them.

Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

January 11, 2019Rabbi Dan Moskovitz

My car is a philosopher; yours is too. I am certain I am not the first person to look into my passenger side-view mirror and ponder the existential meaning of the message inscribed at the bottom of the frame, “Objects in (the) mirror may be closer than they appear.” In this week’s Torah portion, Va-y’chi, Joseph does essentially the same thing. According to midrash, he revisits the site where his brothers betrayed him and instead of bitterness found blessing.

The Blessing of Dinah

December 22, 2018Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

In Parashat Va-y’chi, Jacob blesses his sons as he lies on his deathbed. We note the absence of any blessing for - or mention of - his daughter Dinah. 

How the Living Serve the Dead

December 30, 2017Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D.

In Va-y’chi, we hear the final requests of Jacob, and then Joseph, to bring back their remains to be buried in the land God promised to their ancestors. In carrying Joseph’s bones, Moses moves draws closer to his progenitor, giving us the opportunity to reflect on our connections to our forebears.