The final reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayechi (ויחי), which means “and he lived.” “Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years” (Genesis 47:28). In this Weekly Torah portion, Jacob prepares for his death by securing a double portion of inheritance for Yosef and then blessing each of his sons with prophetic blessings. The book of Genesis ends with the death of Jacob, followed shortly by the death of Yosef and a promise of redemption from Egypt.
- Jacob blesses his grandchildren Efrayim and Manasseh. – Genesis 48:1-20
- Jacob’s twelve sons gather around his deathbed, and each receives an blessings.. – Genesis 49:1-33
- Yosef mourns his father’s death and has Jacob embalmed. – Genesis 50:1-14
- Yosef assures his concerned brothers that he has forgiven them and promises to care for them and their families. – Genesis 50:15-21
- Just before he dies, Yosef tells his brothers that G-d will return them to the Land that G-d promised to the patriarchs. The Children of Israel promise Yosef that they will take his bones with them when they leave Egypt. – Genesis 50:22-26
Chai HaShem (HaShem lives): Most High is the Living One
As the Presence and blessings of HaShem followed Jacob and his sons into Egypt, Jacob lived. Israel is always the evidence of life. How fitting that chai [life] is tied to the Holy One, blessed be He. Chai HaShem! ( HaShem lives ).
G-d said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’” –Exodus 3:14
HaShem lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the G-d of my salvation be exalted – Psalms 18:46-47 – How fitting that life is tied to the Holy One, blessed be He.
G-d keeps His promises. He has kept His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember the word vayechi [and he lived] and how it points to Am Yisra’el Chai! ( The People of Israel Live)
Rabbienu Tzaddik Yeshua words: But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, “I am the G-d of Abraham, and the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob”? He is not the G-d of the dead, but of the living – Mark 12:26–27, quoting Exodus 3:6 .
AND JACOB LIVED:
Tzaddikim (the righteous), even in death are called “living,” whereas the evil, even while living are called “dead.”
“And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years” (Genesis 47:28). These were “good” years (17 is the gematria of TOV = “good”) as opposed to the first one hundred and thirty years of Jacob’s 147-year life. The first hundred and thirty years were riddled with suffering. Through the suffering Jacob endured while struggling to build his family, the House of Israel, he rectified Adam’s 130 years of separation from Eve (Rashi on Genesis 4:25).
“And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt Seventeen years” ( Beresheet 47:28). Rabbi Yosi said, Jacob’s heart saw through prophecy in Egypt that his descendants would suffer many exiles – NAMELY HE SAW ALL THE EXILES from then until now, until the End, and the time of the Coming of Messiah.
And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years. “And he Lived” is to be compared with Jacob’s message to Esau in ( Genesis 32:4 ) And he commanded them, saying, “Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says: “I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now.’”
G-d’s first command to Adam was “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and conquer it” (Genesis 1:28). As explained by Rabbi Nachman (Likutey Moharan II:7), this commandment is fulfilled not by producing anthropoid monsters but by giving birth to, raising and educating true Children of Adam, who bear the TZURAH (“form”) of ADAM, who was made “in the image of G-d”.
Jacob spent the final “good” years of his life fulfilling the commandment to be spiritually fruitful – by educating the young, especially his grandson Ephraim (see Rashi on Genesis 48:1: “Ephraim was habitually with Jacob learning”).
Only Jacob was SHALEM, “Whole” or “Perfect” (Genesis 32:18): Jacob bore the true TZURAH of ADAM, of whom it is said: “And upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness having the appearance of ADAM upon it from above” (Ezekiel 1:26). When man perfects himself, G-d shines through him and is thus revealed in the world.
Jacob arrived at the prophecy of “and…lived” only in Egypt. It was an excellent prophecy, the like of which was never prophesied before. None of the prophets was worthy of it except for him and Moses ALONE. It is written of Moses, , “For no man shall see Me, and Live“ ( Shemot 33:20). Of Jacob, it is written, “And Jacob lived” REFERRING TO the prophecy which descends from the shining mirror, TIFERET(beauty), “And he lived,” pertaining to Jacob. Yet what we have is an account of events leading up to his death. The reason for this is that Jacob was considered an especially righteous man, and we are told the following:
Tzaddikim (the righteous), even in death are called “living,” whereas the evil, even while living are called “dead.”
I (Yeshua) was dead, but look! — I am alive forever and ever – Revelation 1 : 18
“but the Sar HaChayyim( author of the life) you did away with, whom Hashem made to stand up alive again from the mesim(i.e dead), of which we are edim (witnesses) – You killed the author of life! “But G-d has raised him from the dead! Of this we are witnesses – Acts 3 : 15
Cleave to Most High is to Serve and To Live:(” Am Yisrael Chai”)
Jacob is sometimes called Yaakov, sometimes Yisrael. Yaakov is “small” (“Yaakov her SMALL son” Genesis 27:15; “How will Yaakov rise, for he is SMALL” –Amos 7:5.
According to tradition, “At the time when Jacob our father assembled his sons in Egypt at the hour of his death, he commanded and spurred them on in the unification of the name of G-d and that they should follow the path of HaShem that Abraham and Isaac his father walked. He asked them and said, ‘My sons, maybe someone among you is flawed and does not stand with me in the Unification of the Name.?’ They all answered and said, ‘Hear Israel HaShem our G-d HaShem is One‘ — that is, ‘Hear from us, our father Israel, HaShem our G-d HaShem is one’. The old man answered ‘Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingship for ever and ever!’ And this is why all Israel has the custom of repeating the expression of the praise used by Israel when he was an old man after this verse”. (Rambam, Laws of Recital of Shema Ch. 1:4).
Jacob lived: As the Presence and blessings of HaShem followed Jacob and his sons into Egypt . Israel is always the evidence of life. the word vayechi [and he lived], it is also pointing to Am Yisra’el Chai…and they lives because they are the firstborn son of Eternal Living one.
In Chassidic teachings we found the need of the Messiah. They have some amazing insights into the purpose of a Tzadik (a righteous one). Chassidus teaches that it is through the Tzadik (eg. Rebbeinu) that one can drawn closer to the holiness of HaShem. Through a Tzadik, one can become attached to HaShem. This concept is called “devekut” [cleaving]. Modern Hassidic commentary reflects how the essence of Yom Kippur is related with salvation, expressed in terms of our soul “bonding” or “cleaving” with G-d:
connection to Yom Kippur: …and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation – Hebrews 9: 28
Writings of Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls): when he shall atone for all the Sons of Light, and the people who are predestined to Melchizadek …..The visitation is the Day of Salvation that He has decreed through Isaiah the prophet concerning all the captives, inasmuch as Scripture says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion “Your divine being reigns”.” (Isaiah 52:7) This scriptures interpretation : “the mountains” are the prophets, they who were sent to proclaim God`s truth and to prophesy to all Israel. “The messengers” is the Anointed of the spirit, of whom Daniel spoke; “After the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed shall be cut off”(Daniel 9:26) The “Messenger who brings good news, who announces Salvation” is the one of whom it is written; “to proclaim the year of the LORD`s favour , the day of the vengeance of our G-d; to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:2) This scripture`s interpretation: he is to instruct them about all the periods of history for eternity (… and in the statutes) of the truth. (…) (…. dominion) that passes from Belial and returns to the Sons of Light (….) (…) by the judgment of G-d, just as t is written concerning him; “who says to Zion “Your divine being reigns” (Isaiah 52:7) “Zion” is the congregation of all the sons of righteousness, who uphold the covenant and turn from walking in the way of the people. “Your divine being” is Melchizedek, who will deliver them from the power of Belial – 11Q13 Col.2 – ……..Concerning what scripture says, “Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; in the seventh month …” (Leviticus 25;9)
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to Sound his trumpet, the mysteries plan of G-d will be fulfilled, just as He proclaimed to His servants, the prophets- Revelation 10:7
You shall fear HaShem your G-d; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast [tid’bak from davak = “Cleave”] , and take oaths in His Name. – Deuteronomy 10:20
In Deuteronomy (4:4) we are told the result of that “clinging” to HaShem. Life. But G-d is a consuming fire: For HaShem your G-d is a Consuming fire… Deuteronomy 4:24a and In New Testament For indeed, “Our G-d is a Consuming fire!” – Hebrews 12 : 29
I have still one thing more to tell you. It says in one place “For the Lord thy G-d is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4: 24), and in another place “Ye that stuck (deveykus/cleaving) to the Lord your G-d are all of you alive this day” (Deuteronomy 4: 4).
How is it possible to cling to one, whose very Holy Presence will Consume us?Chassidus teaches that Moses was the ultimate Tzadik that provided a means for all Israel to cleave to HaShem. Therein the secret lies is the purpose for the Tzadik [the rightous one]. Chassidus teaches that the Tzadik, by his elevated holiness, is able to attach himself to HaShem, and on the Tzadik’s merit is not consumed and we may live in his presence. In turn, the Tzadik’s disciples cleave to their Rebbeinu and find the comfort and presence of HaShem. As it is written: On the third day he will raise us so that we may live in his presence- Hosea 6:2.
R.Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
To Live in his Holy presence but not to be consumed:
How the Infinite G-d can dwell among sinful nature with finite man and without destroying him. so there should be no sinful nature without evil inclination to dwell among us!
Now think about to the Tabernacle. What was its purpose? And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them – Exodus 25:8.
HaShem dwelt among us at the Tabernacle and the Temple which was temporary. But Now he wants to dwelt permanently with us. Only the “Word made flesh” could do that. HaShem could “put on” the Tabernacle and dwelt with us.
As it is written: And let them make me a sanctuary [Hebrew, miqdosh, sanctuary, i.e., a holy place], that I may dwell in their midst.
Yochanan gives explanation about devekut [clinging to Most High] and even in Hebrews chapters(9:14-15 & 12) explained about the mystery of Tzaddik heavenly holy work(i.e before the foundation of the world, Messiah atoning Work was Most High Plan about the process of the salvation for all the souls of Israel) .
….And the Word became flesh and dwelt [ tabernacled ] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:1-4; 9-10; 14-18.
“Behold, the dwelling of G-d is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and G-d himself will be with them. -Revelation 21 :3,7.
The shekinah origanlly rested on the Tabernacle and the purpose of the Tabernacle was so that the Infinite Holy One, blessed is He, could dwell among His people. And yet, the Holy G-d, could not dwell among sinful men. Yom Kippur provided for that. The offerings of Yom Kippur made the Place holy. This all works quite well in the temporal way. HaShem dwelt among us at the Tabernacle and the Temple. But the Tabernacle does not allow us to dwell with Him in perpetuity.Yom Kippur brings atonement and Death of the righteous brings atonement – Yerushalami Yoma1:1 and this would seem to indicate a perpetual state of fulfillment of Yom Kippur, as provided for by the death of Yeshua( Tzaddik).
Yeshua’s work, being the shed blood of the Divine Tzaddik (and mediator), effected a “permanent” atonement for those who trust in Him and walk in the way of Torah:
……..cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living Most High! For this reason Messiah is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. -Hebrews 9:14-15
The temporal problem of the infinite Holy One, blessed is He, dwelling among us was solved by the process mentioned in chapters of Leviticus. So we had only what was necessary to remain in his presence for a single day( day of atonement) with sin and guilt offerings. However, without an eternal solution – one that would deal with the ultimate effect of sin (ie. death), we would not be able to dwell with HaShem eternally. In His Presence death is not allowed.
Are we looking something else which is permanent. We needed HaShem to dwell among us physically, and we needed to be purified once and for all so that we could dwell with Him eternally. Only the “Word made flesh”could do that. HaShem could “put on” the Tabernacle and dwelt with us, and even though it protected us from dying in those moments of worship, we eventually aged and died. It was always HaShem’s plan to “put on” a more enduring “Tabernacle” and make the arrangement permanent. ( it might be the heavenly Tabernacle. Baruch HaShem.)
As it is written: You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain which is your heritage. the place, Adonai, that you made your abode,the sanctuary, Adonai, which your hands established – Exodus 15:17
It was Messiah, as the ultimate Tzadik, having the very holiness of Most High in the frailty of human flesh that accomplished this. Yeshua is the Torah in the flesh — the point of John 1:1 and Yeshua is the goal of the Torah (Romans 10:4). It was always His work on our behalf, His ultimate offering of His perfect life is the merit by which we were able to eternally cleave to HaShem and not be consumed. Before the foundation of the world, Messiah’s atoning work was YHWH plan.
Yeshua is the lamb slain since the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3, 9:26; Rev. 13:8). Yeshua Himself said: John 8:56 — “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.” Yeshua’s work, being the shed blood of the Divine Tzaddik , effected a “permanent” atonement( i.e eternal atonement) for those who trust in Him and walk in the way of Torah. In New Testament shows both the atonement provided by the divine Tzaddik, as well as the Kingdom set aside for the righteous, stem from the “foundation of the world”:
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. –Revelation 13:8
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. -Matthew 25:34
….. But with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. –1 Peter 1:18-20
For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah (i.e cleaving to HaShem through Tzaddik atoning work which was done in above mishkan) all will be made alive. .....we may live in his presence- Hosea 6:2; But each in his own order: the Messiah is the first fruits; then those who belong to the Messiah ( his offering of his righteous life is the merit by which we are able to eternally cleave to Most High), at the time of his coming - I Corinthians 15:22
The resurrection of the dead is proved from the Torah:
Rabbi Simai said, “From where in Torah do we learn the resurrection of the dead? From the verse, ‘I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan.’ It doesn’t say ‘[to give] you’; it says ‘to give them.’ Therefore [since Abraham, Isaac and Jacob haven’t yet received the land] the resurrection of the dead is proved from the Torah.” (b.Sanhedrin 90b, quoting Exodus 6:4)
Rabbienu Tzaddik Yeshua words: But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, “I am the G-d of Abraham, and the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob”? He is not the G-d of the dead, but of the living – Mark 12:26–27, quoting Exodus 3:6 .
But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died. For since death came through a man, also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man ( i.e through Righteous one) – I Corinthians 15 :20
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of G-d, who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years. -Revelation 20:4
Here is how Rabbi Shaul describes the life of the believer: For Messiah is the goal of the Torah for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the Torah, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” -Romans 10:4-5
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him [Yeshua], saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Torah? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” -Luke 10:25-28
And he [Moses] said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this Torah. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess. -Deuteronomy 32:46-47
This is what Rabbi Shaul speaks of later in Romans 10:8 where he quotes from Deuteronomy But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach). -Romans 10:8
For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love HaShem your G-d, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and HaShem your G-d will bless you in the land which you go to possess.” -Deuteronomy 10:11-16
1 Kings 2:1-12
The name of our Parsha is “Vayechi” – And he lived, referring to the life of Yaakov. As our forefathers lived, so shall we live, in these last days, to fulfill our destiny; if we will only “Sh’ma” (hear and obey). From the book of psalm says; The counsel of YHVH stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose Elohim is YHVH, The people whom He has chosen as His own inheritance. As it is written: But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob, His own inheritance. – Deuteronomy 32 :9
JACOB BLESSINGS: Twelve Tribes of Israel
Before his death, Jacob calls his 12 sons to his bedside and attempts to reveal the End of Days. However, G-d prevents him from doing so, and so Jacob blesses his sons, each according to his unique needs and capabilities.
“And Jacob called to his children and he said ‘gather round and I will reveal to you that which will occur to you in the End of Days’” – Genesis 49:1
- He desired to reveal to them the [secret of the] Messianic Era but the Divine Presence [suddenly] left him and he began to discuss other matters – Rashi
- The “End of Days” refers to the Messianic Era… – Ramban
- “I know with perfect certainty that Moshiach will arrive. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day…” – Rambam’s Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith
Reuben, the first born, has great strength and ability. He was fitting for kingship and priesthood. However, his flaw of impetuosity caused him to lose both.
Simeon and Levi’s anger caused them to turn to violence and bloodshed when they killed the city of Shechem and plotted against their brother Joseph.
Judah is granted eternal kingship over the Jewish people and abundance in his territory.Thus it is Onkelos who informs us that SHILOH (Genesis 49:10) is Mashiach.
The blessing which Jacob gave to Judah ( Bereishit 49:8-12) contains all of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except for the letter ז (zayin). What is the significance of this missing letter? Rabbeinu Bechaye writes that when spelled out fully, the letter ז (zayin) is written זיין, which is also the Hebrew word for weapons. The tribe of Judah is associated with royalty, and Judah’s offspring include King David and his descendants. Although many nations associate the power of the ruler with military might and prowess, the Jewish king rules because he was selected by Hashem. Additionally, the wars which he leads the Jewish people to fight are also won not through military strength and an abundance of advanced weaponry, but through Divine assistance. The blessing given to the tribe associated with the king omits the letter which means weapons in order to hint to the true Source of his dominion. (Rabbi Ozer Alport)
Zebulun, who supports his brother, Issachar’s Torah study, is blessed with business acumen in sea-faring commerce. Issachar’s strength allows him to spend long hours studying Torah and to defeat his enemies.
Torah: The Hardest Job Of Them All
“Issachar is a strong-boned donkey crouching between the boundaries.” -Genesis 49:14
A strong-boned donkey: he carries the yoke of the Torah like a strong donkey loaded with a heavy load. Crouching between the borders: Like a donkey that travels day and night and has nowhere to rest indoors so that when it wishes to rest it crouches between the borders of the cities to where it is carrying merchandise. Rashi: A mule and his pack are bound together as one. Similarly a Torah scholar is inseparable from his load. Kli Yakar
“Rabbi Yosi said: ‘Inspire yourself to study Torah for it is not an [automatic] inheritance for you’” -Avot 2:12. Torah is accessible to all but everyone must toil to acquire it.“Mankind was created to toil…” -Job 5:7
Dan will bring forth Sampson, a Judge of Israel who will single-handedly defeat the Philistines. Gad, too, is blessed with the strength of a mighty warrior. The Tribe of Gad went first in the battles to conquer the Canaanites and did not return home until the conquest was complete. Asher’s land will be abundant in produce and olive oil. Naphtali’s crops will ripen swiftly, and their warriors will play a leading role in the battle against the evil general Sisra.
Joseph receives an abundant blessing for his beauty, talent and purity, which enabled him to survive the hatred of his brothers and the temptation of Potiphar’s wife. Benjamin’s descendants will defeat Israel’s enemies through King Saul, who defeated Moab, Edom and Philistia, and Mordechai, who triumphed over Haman in the Purim story.
The Tribes are compared to various animals. Judah is a lion, Issachar is a wide-boned donkey, Dan is a serpent, Naftali a gracious hind, Benjamin a preying fox. In the case of Jacob’s children, the animal qualities are elevated in order to destroy the wicked and give the victory to G-d. Thus Onkelos translates Gen. 49:14-15 as: “Yissachar will be wealthy in possessions and his inheritance is between the boundaries. And he saw that his share is good and that the land produces fruits. And he conquered the territories of the nations and destroyed their inhabitants and those who remain of them will serve him and pay him taxes.” Onkelos translates the blessing of Benjamin (v. 49:27: “Benjamin is a preying fox, in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the prey”) as: “In the land of Benjamin the Shechinah will dwell (= TISHREI) and in his inheritance the Holy Temple will be built, in the morning and in the afternoon the priests will offer sacrifices and in the evening they will divide the rest of their portions from the other offerings”.
JACOB’S BLESSINGS: Ephraim and Menasseh
Jacob elevates Ephraim and Menasseh to equal status with the other Tribes of Israel, and establishes the custom by which future generations bless their sons in their names. However, Ephraim’s offspring will be the greater of the two, as Joshua, a descendant of Ephraim, will lead the Jewish people into the Land of Israel, defeat the Canaanites, and cause the sun and moon to halt in the sky.
When blessing Ephraim with the “right hand,” Jacob is giving the greatest strength to the son who will need it most, as Ephraim’s descendants will be more numerous and widespread. It has become a custom to bless Jewish boys with the words, “May you be like Ephraim and Menashe,” based on the blessing Jacob gives Joseph’s sons in Genesis 48:2
Jacob sees the idols of Jeroboam when he blesses – Ephraim and Manasseh
Zohar: Jacob had at the time he blesses the two boys. Jacob sees that through Ephraim, Israel would fall into terrible idolatry:
Soncino Zohar Volume I p. 228a – When Jacob was about to bless Joseph’s sons, he saw by the Holy Spirit that Jeroboam the son of Nebat would issue from Ephraim, and he exclaimed, “Who are these?”, the word “these” (eleh) being an allusion to idols. The reason is that besides the evil serpent there is one that rides on it, and when they are joined together they are called “these”, and they visit the world with all their hosts.
Jacob sees the idols of Jeroboam when he blesses, Ephraim and Manasseh: Soncino Zohar Volume I, p. 228b – When Jacob was about to bless Joseph’s sons, he saw by the Holy Spirit that Jeroboam the son of Nebat would issue from Ephraim, and he exclaimed, “Who are these?”, the word “these” (eleh) being an allusion to idols. The reason is that besides the evil serpent there is one that rides on it, and when they are joined together they are called “these”, and they visit the world with all their hosts. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is called “this”, and is symbolized by the covenant of the holy imprint which is ever on a man’s body. Hence we find written, “These also shall forget” (Is. XLIX, 15), and again, “For these I am weeping” (Ibid. 16), that sin being the cause to us of endless weeping; or alternatively, because this place was allowed to gain dominion over Israel and to destroy the Temple, the word “I” (ani) in this case referring to the Holy Spirit. It may be asked, on this hypothesis, what are we to make of the words “These are the words of the covenant”? The answer is that the word “these” is here also appropriate, because the words of the covenant are established by “these”, since they are the abode of all curses, which await all who transgress the covenant. Similarly it is written, “These are the precepts which the Lord commanded”, because the object of all the precepts is to purify man so that he should not stray from the right path and should keep far away from there. Hence, too, it is written, “These are the generations of Noah”, because they included Ham the father of Canaan, who was accursed. The spirit of eleh is the “dross of gold”. Aaron in the wilderness offered gold, which was his own affinity, since he was endowed with the strength of fire, and fire and gold are all one, but the unclean spirit which haunts the wilderness found at that time a place on which to fasten, and so Israel, after being freed at Mount Sinai from the primeval defilement which brought death into the world, afterwards incurred it again and brought death upon themselves and all their descendants. Hence, when Jacob saw in his mind’s eye Jeroboam son of Nebat, who made an idol and said, “These are thy gods, O Israel”, he trembled and said, “Who are these?”. Hence when he came afterwards to bless them, he first blessed Elohim and then blessed them from that source.
Ephraim declares “I am rich” -Revelation 3:17
Soncino Zohar Volume II p. 67b – “And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out power”, namely, the celestial unholy power which presided over the act of idolatry committed by Jeroboam (I Kings XII, 28), without which he would not have been able to succeed. Now, when this king and this priest of the “other side” are subdued, and their power broken, all the “other sides” follow suit, and are also subdued and broken, and acknowledge the sovereignty of the Holy One, and in this way He alone rules above and below, as it is written: “And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah II, 11). In just the same way G-d broke here on earth the power of an “old and foolish king”, namely Pharaoh, who, when Moses said to him, “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us”, replied, “I know not the Lord,” but when the Holy One, desiring that His Name should be glorified on earth as it is in heaven, punished him and his people, he came and acknowledged the Holy One. Subsequently his priest also, namely Jethro, the priest of On, i.e. idolatry, was also humbled, so that he came and acknowledged the Holy One, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you…. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods...” (Ex. XVIII, 10, 11). So when that king and that priest acknowledged the Holy One, blessed be He, and were humbled before Him, He was exalted above and below, and then, and then only did He give forth the Torah, as undisputed sovereign over all.’
Jeroboam’s Idolatry leads to Rome and Greek Italy : Talmud, Shabbath 56b – Rab Judah said in Samuel’s name: When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, Gabriel descended and planted a reed in the sea, and it gathered a bank around it, on which the great city of Rome was built. In a Baraitha it was taught: On the day that Jeroboam brought the two golden calves, one into Bethel and the other into Dan, a hut was built, and this developed into Greek Italy.
Jeroboam the Ephraimite places two golden calves one in Beth-El and in Dan
And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. And he set one in Beth-El, and the other he placed in Dan. And this thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, as far as Dan. And he made a house of high places, and made priests from among all the people, who were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So he did in Beth-El, sacrificing to the calves that he had made; and he placed in Beth-El the priests of the high places that he had made. And he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-El the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast to the children of Israel; and he offered upon the altar, and burned incense. -I Kings 12:28-33 – 28.
Ephraim and Manasseh Blessings:
Jacob when blessing Ephraim uses the term, “m’loh ha goyim,” or “fullness of the gentiles. (Genesis 48:19) Paul uses this same term in Romans 11:25, when speaking of the final redemption of Israel. Rabbi Shaul is not referring to “the gentiles” when he uses this term, rather he is referring to the return the exiled tribes.
Rashi’s comments on Jacob’s adopting of Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48:5 refer to the share in the Land of Israel that each one will receive: They are similar to the shares that Jacob’s own sons will inherit. In fact, this adoption is the reason that Ephraim and Manasseh are counted among the twelve tribes of Israel,
Rabbi Shimon said, to explain away the difficulty that he called only Joseph his son and not all the tribes, these words of Rabbi Shimon are brought here. “And establish justice in the gate, it may be that Hashem Elohim of Tzeva’ot will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph“ (Amos 5:15), for all the children of Yisrael are called Joseph.
I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph. I will restore them because I have compassion on them. They will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them. – Zechariah 10 : 6
A FISHY BLESSING : “The Angel who redeemed me from all evil should bless the lads, and let my name be called upon them together with the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they be like fish, multiplying within the land.” -Genesis 48:16
May they be like fish – Just as the fish are fruitful and multiply and are not affected by the evil eye. – Rashi
May they be like fish multiplying within the land – Interestingly, in all of the censuses that were taken throughout our years in the desert, the tribes of Menasseh and Ephraim did not number significantly more members than the others. It would appear from this that the blessing was not fulfilled. Jacob qualified the blessing with the words, “Within the land.” Therefore, throughout their time in the desert, this blessing was not applicable. It was only applicable once they entered the land, when they were told by Joshua to enter the forest and locate additional land for their inheritance. – Ksav V’kabbalah quoting the Gaon of Vilna
Therefore Jacob blessed Ephraim and Menashe that they should be like fish, in the sense that they should never lose their pure status.
“Shimon Kefa went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three, and even though there were so many, the net was not torn.”
In the book of John 21, the disciples are fishing on the “sea of Tiberius.” In Rabbinic literature, ‘sea’ refers to the nations, or gentiles, “He said to me, “The waters which you saw… are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.” -Revelation 17:15
The disciples have been fishing in the darkness, as it says “That night, they caught nothing.” In the morning, Yeshua was revealed upon the seashore. Light represents Messiah,“G-d called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was evening and there was morning, day one.” -Genesis 1:5
The net was then full of fish being drawn out of the waters to the land,
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind, which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away. So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous. . .” -Matthew 13:47-51
The net represents the Kingdom of Heaven, drawing his people out of the nations to the land – that is Israel. One of the missions of Mashiach is to gather the exiles. Yeshua said to the disciples, “I will make you fishers of men.” -Matthew 4:19
The secret of the one fifty three fish is revealed in the King Melech Messiah, who is calling the fisherman (the disciples) to cast the net (the Good news of the Kingdom) to bring the fish (the exiles souls of Israel) back to the Holy Land (Israel), out of the seas (nations), to be together on the seashore amidst the grains of sand (the sons of Abraham), to inherit the land, as it is written, “…Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish. Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of G-d who are scattered abroad..” -John 11:49-54
Yeshua Tzaddik therefore is the Heavenly Betzalel, who is gathering the exiles of the Israel people, and inviting the non-Jews to grasp onto the tzitzit of the Jewish people and follow him to the Land. He is calling us all up to His Holy Mountain, that every person who desires the Kingdom of Heaven will become a supernal stone within the Heavenly Temple, as He is the Tekton, the Architect, the Builder of the Tabernacle assembling all the stones to fit together whose purpose is to bring Heaven to earth.
Ephraim and Menashe, Gentile believers have a special connection to Israel though Mashiach ben Yosef – (in the merit of Tzaddik/Righteous one ) -Isaiah 56: Neither let the foreigner, who has joined himself HaShem, speak, saying, ‘Hashem will surely separate me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’ For thus says HaShem, ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and hold fast my covenant: to them I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the foreigners who join themselves to HaShem, to minister to him, and to love the name of HaShem, to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath from profaning it, and holds fast my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Ad-nai HaShem, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, ‘Yet will I gather others to him, besides his own who are gathered.– Isaiah 56:3-8
As it is written: For HaShem will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The Strangers will be joined with them, and they will Cling to the house of Jacob– Isaiah 14:1
And the twelve tribes are listed differently dependent upon their duties in the scriptures. What is most interested part is in Revelation 7:4-8. The tribe of Dan is missing, but so is Ephraim. Instead, of Ephraim, Joseph is listed. Revelation 7:4-8 lists the tribes:
Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
The only other place “the Tribe of Joseph” is mentioned outside of Revelation 7:8 is compared in in Numbers 13:11, where the twelve spies are chosen. Instead of Ephraim being called the tribe of Joseph, here it is Manasseh: “from the tribe of Joseph (that is) from the tribe of Manasseh… ” Gaddi the Son of Susi..…Numbers 13:11
Gaddi- A Servant of Most Ancient Holy one of Israel and Disciple of Yeshua HaMashiach
The expression "of the tribe of Joseph," in Num 13:11, stands for "of the Children of Joseph," in Num 1:10; Num 34:23 and as it is stated in Num 13:3, "heads of the children of Israel”.
Natziv on Numbers 2:20 ## In spiritual matters Ephraim takes precedence therefore he was recorded first in the Wilderness Encampment (Numbers 2:18) and in the consecration of the altar. In the ways of this world however Menasseh was primary. This is why Menasseh was counted first in the census just before they were entered the Land (Numbers 26:29). Manasseh had precedence over Ephraim in affairs of this world (Natziv on Numbers 2:20)
A different explanation is given by Rabbi Naphtali Tzvi Berlin (Netziv). In his commentary on the Torah, Ha`amek Davar, he writes: “Ephraim and Manasseh were each great in different ways; Ephraim was great in Torah and adhering to the Lord, while Manasseh was great in the ways of the world and caring for the community.” In his notes, Harhev Davar, he remarks:
It is fitting to bless a person only with such blessing as the Lord has bestowed upon him thus far, a rich person with wealth and a wise person with wisdom… That being the case, it is not fitting to bless a person who does not occupy himself with Torah that he be like Ephraim, or a person who does not occupy himself with worldly affairs that he be like Manasseh. But when a child is circumcised and it is as yet unknown which path the child will follow, then a Jew blesses him, “G-d make you like Ephraim” – if he should grow up to occupy himself with Torah, may he succeed like Ephraim, “and Manasseh” – if he grow up to occupy himself with worldly affairs, may he be like Manasseh.
Baruch HaShem. What a blessing to the tribe of Jospeh !!!
Gaddi- A Servant of Most High Witness: Who keep the Commandments(Torah) of Most High and have the Testimony of Yeshua haMashiach (i.e He is our Tzaddik, Righteous one, Whom Most High raised him from the dead.
The Ephraim’s redemption is based on repentance and follow the footsteps of Messiah – And it is under the divine mandate of Mashiach ben Yosef(Voice of Most High) as we love to call as Rabbi Yeshua our Mashiach.
Thus says HaShem G-d: ‘Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” – Ezekiel 37:16-24
Yeshua Words: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and Im known by my own; even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd.” -John 10:14-16
At the coming of Messiah, both the Shekinah and children of Rachel (exiled ones of Israel/remnant of yosef ) comes to the holy land of Israel and will be properly established in Israel.
“It shall happen, that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance to you and to the aliens who live among you, who shall father children among you; and they shall be to you as the native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. It shall happen, that in what tribe the stranger lives, there you shall give him his inheritance, says the Ad-nai HaShem.” -Ezekiel 47:22-23
Rabbi Shaul explains :“Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called circumcision, (in the flesh, made by hands); that you were at that time separate from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Messiah. For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition…” -Ephesians 2:11-14
He also explains to the adopted children, the non-Jews, not to boast against the natural branches (Romans 11:8), but to support them.
Yeshua said to the Samaritan woman: “You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” -John 4:22
“Messiah ben Yosef” is the process of redemption; a redemption in the likeness of Yosef. He leads the footsteps until the revelation of Messiah ben David, who is said to have the soul of Moses himself – as it’s written: “a Prophet like me” –(Deuteronomy 18:15).
“The essential function of Messiah ben Yosef is to prepare Israel for the final redemption, to put them into the proper condition in order to clear the way for Messiah ben David to come” (Saadia Gaon, Emunot veDeot 8:6).
ABOUT SHILOH – MASHIACH:
Rambam says that the candidate to be the ultimate king Messiah (bekhezkat Mashiakh) has to fulfil – at least – these three things (Hilkhot Melakhim 11:4):
- Obey Torah and teach others to do so.
- Repair the breaches in observance of Torah.
- Fight the wars of G-d.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s-staff from between his feet, until Shiloh will come, and to him shall the subduing of the peoples be” (Genesis 49:10).
Even though my lectures deal with the Soul of Messiah, this verse requires of me to stay closer to Pshat this time: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah” – The scepter is a clear allusion of kingship and authority (cf. Psalms 45:7, Isaiah 14:5; Ezekiel 19:14; cf. Ramban). The verse doesn’t mean to say that there will always be kings and officers of Judah in Israel, as history and Torah prove otherwise (cf. Deuteronomy 28:36); rather, the position of higher authority that Yakov gave to Judah over his brothers will not be transferred to anyone else; and in case there arises an external ruler, he must be perceived as a temporary ruler or a viceroy (cf. Yerushalmi Horayot 3:2; Ramban).
What is Shiloh? It seems that Shiloh derives from Shalah – tranquil or safe, the main root of ‘Shalom – peace’ (cf. Sforno; Shlemah 157); i.e. Shiloh is he who brings the so expected period of tranquillity and security.
The Midrash splits Shiloh into two: “Shai” (gift) and “lo” (to him); based on the verse: “they will bring a gift [shai] to him who is to be feared” (Psalms 76:11-12).
“To him” emphasizes that Shiloh is a title given to a lone man; one who takes the duty to carry the scepter and the Mekhoqeq, harmonizing all the rules of the sages, thus bringing a time of safety and tranquillity. Onkelos directly attributes this to Messiah, because – he explains – the Kingship is his (She’Lo – שלו). This verse refers clearly to what we call: ‘the Messiah’ (haMashiakh; the anointed one) – even though technically speaking, such a title has been given by Oral Tradition because it doesn’t appear anywhere in Scripture; but it can be inferred from the idea of anointing kings. After all, in Gematria: “Shiloh will come” (Yavo Shiloh) equals Messiah (Mashiakh).
“And to him will be subduing of peoples” – “A number of nations united to serve G-d and the King Messiah” (words of Rashi). This is the original phrase from which the Prophet Isaiah developed the verse: “In that day the root of Yishai will stand as a banner for the peoples; to him the nations will seek, and his resting place will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10).
Tribe of Judah – David Seed
- He comes from the tribe of Judah
- and specifically from the line of Yishai (the father of King David).
- In fact the Messianic line goes through David; the first king with sceptre of Judah, as it is said: “I will rise up your seed, who shall be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom” (II Samuel 7:12; 1Chronicles 17:11-14).
From the book of New Testament:
This is the genealogy of Yeshua the Messiah, son of David, son of Avraham:… -Matthew 1:1.
for everyone knows that our Lord arose out of Y’hudah, – Hebrews 7:14
He will be great, he will be called Son of Ha‘Elyon. Adonai, G-d, will give him the throne of his forefather David; and he will rule the House of Ya‘akov forever — there will be no end to his Kingdom – Luke 1 : 32-34
and he who is overcoming, and who is keeping unto the end my works, I will give to him authority over the nations, he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery,… – Revelation 2: 26-27
Midrash Rabbah – The Song of Songs VIII:19 – The Holy One, blessed be He, does not punish a nation on earth till He has cast down its guardian angel from heaven. This is borne out by five Scriptural verses. One, the verse, And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord will punish the host of the high heaven on high-that first, and then-and the kings of the earth upon the earth (Isaiah. XXIV, 21). The second is: How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! after which we read, How art thou cut down to the ground (ib. XIV, 12). The third is: For My sword hath drunk its fill in heaven; and then, Behold, it shall come down upon Edom (ib. XXXIV, 5). The fourth: To bind their kings with chains, and then, and their nobles with fetters of iron (Ps. CXLIX, 8), explaining which R. Tanhuma said: ‘ To bind their kings with chains’: this refers to the heavenly princes. ‘And their nobles with fetters of iron’: this refers to the earthly rulers. The fifth is:To execute upon them the judgement written, and then, He is the glory of all His saints, hallelujah (ib. 9).
So he who brings Shalom (peace) to Israel and the nations comes from the loins of King David; as specifically stated in the verse: “of the fruit of your body I will place on your throne” (Psalms 132:11).
Shiloh equals Moshe – Moses (cf. Baal haTurim); he was the first deliverer of Israel. This is because Messiah is a prophet like Moses (cf. Deutronomy 18:18), thus our sages say that “the first redeemer is the last redeemer” (Shmot Rabbah 4:2). This gives to Shiloh not only the role of ruler and king, but also the role of redeemer of the nation; just like Moses.
MESSIAH BEN DAVID:
“I will raise to David a righteous branch and he will reign as king and prosper and will execute justice and righteousness in the Land” –Jeremiah 23:5.
The King Messiah will be heralded by the Prophet Eliyahu (Mal 3:23-24; cf. Eruvin 43b);
The King Messiah obviously will be a Jew who obeys Torah (Deuteronomy 17:18-19), in fact he will be well versed in Torah law – a wise counsellor – and will have a special sense for understanding what is concealed even in the heart of people, as it is said (Is 11:3): “he will not judge after the sight of his eyes” and again: (Isaiah 11:5) “righteousness will be girdle of his loins”.
When he will establish his kingdom, certainly it will be an era of tranquillity and peace for the world [as hinted in the name of Shiloh], a time of correcting the human nature (Zephaniah 3:13), a time of being occupied with the knowledge of Torah where there’s no place for war (Isaiah 2:2-4). It will be a time of harmonizing opposites, to the point that once the Earth has been perfected, we will turn naturally into vegetarianism as it was in the beginning, as in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:29-30 cf. Ramban on Lv 26:6; Abarbanel on Isaiah 11); this is found in the statement that: “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6) and “the cow will feed with the bear” (Isaiah 11:7) and “the infant will play near the hole of the cobra” (Isaiah 11:8).
The Prophet also states that in the days of Messiah G-d will gather the exiles of Israel “from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12; Ezekiel 36:24); and join again the tribes of Ephraim with the tribes of Judah, and make them one (Ezekiel 37:16-19).
And in his time the Resurrection of the dead (Tekhiat haMetim) will take place (Daniel 12:2;cf. 2Mac 7:9; Yovel 23:30; Sanh 90b-92a).
“In its time I will hasten it” (Isaiah 60:22).
When will he come? – “Today, if you hear [G-d’s] voice” (Sanh 98a).
How will he come? – “With the clouds of Heaven” (Daniel 7:13) or as a “humble man riding a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9)?
“If Israel merits, with the clouds, if not, riding a donkey” (Sanhedrin 98a).
The prophecies concerning Messiah and redemption depend highly on Israel’s behavior, hence the issue: we can learn through the Secrets of the Torah every Truth about the Soul of Messiah, from its inception before the Sun (Psalms 72:17) to its revelation in the end of days.
For example Rambam understands (Hilkhot Melakhim 9:1) that King Messiah “will build the Sanctuary (i.e. the Holy Temple) and gather the dispersed of Israel”. But from the verses above mentioned we can only know for sure that G-d will do it as part of the final messianic redemption; as stated by our sages: “When does G-d build Jerusalem? When he gathers the dispersed of Israel” (Berakhot 49a). It doesn’t say anywhere that Messiah in person must physically gather the exiles and re-build the Temple; but: “G-d, your G-d” (Deuteronomy 30:3).
Rambam states that “he will fight the wars of G-d”; probably an allusion to the war of Gog and Magog which is expected before Messiah establishes his kingdom (Ezekiel 38; Sanh 97b).
Isaiah says: The wicked one will be slain “with the breath of his lips” (Isaiah 11:4).
And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — “He will rule them with a staff of iron.” It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of Adonai, G-d of heaven’s armies. -Revelation 19:15
Midrash Rabbah – The Song of Songs VI:25 – It is not written here, like degalim (standards), but nidgaloth, implying, like the generation which was on the point of being carried into captivity (nithnadned legaluth). Which was this? The generation of Hezekiah, as it says, A day of trouble, and of rebuke, etc. (Isaiah 37:3). How do we know that they inspired fear? Because it says, So that he was exalted in the sight of all nations (II Chronicles 32:23). R. Huna said in the name of R. Eleazar the Modean: It is not written here, like ‘degalim’, but, like ‘nidgaloth’, implying, like the generation which was on the point of being carried into captivity but was not. Which is this? The generation of the Messiah, as it says, For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle (Zechariah 14:2). And how do we know that he will inspire fear? Because it says, And he shall smite the land with the rod of his mouth (Isaiah 11:4).
”But you, Bethelehem Ephratah, though you are small to be among the thousands of Judah, out of you will come for me one who is to be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:1 -2).
This can be interpreted in two ways: (1) Rashi interprets here that while Messiah’s origin is before the sun, in this verse “Beit-Lehem” is not a reference to the town per se, but to the house of David, who was born there (1 Samuel 17:58 ) and whose family was considered the smallest of Judah because of their Moabite ancestors (Psalms 69:9 , 118:22). Almost in agreement with Rashi, David Altschuler says (in Metzudat David) “Bethlehem is the Messianic dynasty’s origin and not Messiah’s literal birthplace”.
(2) The other interpretation is that in fact the prophecy is being told directly to the town – which was in deed a very small town. The phrase “out of you will come” in this case implies that either Messiah or his father will be born there. This literal interpretation is followed in Aggadah: “Where are they [i.e. Messiah and his father] from? From the royal city of Beit-Lehem of Judah” (Yerushalmi Berakhot 2:4 [17b]; cf. Eikah Rabbah 1:51); Yonathan ben Uziel follows the same idea, based on what the Torah and the Prophet say:
“And Rahel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrat, which is Bethlehem. And Yaakov… proceed and spread his tent beyond Migdal Eder – the place from whence, it is to be, the King Messiah will be revealed at the end of days ” (Targ Pseudo-Yonathan on Genesis 35:21). Why does the Targumist say this? Because Micah not only says that Messiah will come forth from Bethlehem; it also states concerning Migdal Eder that “to you shall come the former kingdom [of David]” (Micah 4:8); and Migdal Eder is at the border of Bethlehem.
Haftarat Vayechi – ‘And he lived’ – I Kings 2:1-12
This week’s haftarah portion from the Prophets is related to the weekly Torah portion , As Jacob blesses his sons, so too King David blesses his son Solomon in this week’ly haftarat portion.
But like this week’s Torah portion, it is not about “dying” – it is about “living.” It begins this way:
Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.” –1 Kings 2:1-2
That “be strong” phrase [v’chazak’at] reminds me of the below verse from the book of Joshua where HaShem spoke to Joshua after the death of Moses our Teacher: Have I not commanded you? Be strong [chazak] and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for HaShem your G-d is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9
And keep the charge of HaShem your G-d: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Torah of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that HaShem may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ –1 Kings 2:3-4
“be strong” :
- Keep the charge of HaShem
- Walk in His ways
- Keep His statutes, commandments, judgments, testimonies
- Take heed to your way
- Walk before Him in truth, with all your heart and all your soul
All Scripture is given by inspiration of G-d, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. -II Timothy 3:16
if you truly want to live before his holy presence, obey his voice, the One Who created you and Keep His Word. Be strong. Chazak!
Chazak! Chazak! V’nitchazeik! –Be Strong! Be Strong! And May We Be Strengthened!
UNIVERSAL TORAH: VAYECHI -By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
Torah Reading: VAYECHI Gen. 47:28-50:26
AND JACOB LIVED.
“And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years” (Gen. 47:28). These were “good” years (17 is the gematria of TOV = “good”) as opposed to the first one hundred and thirty years of Jacob’s 147-year life. The first hundred and thirty years were riddled with suffering. Through the suffering Jacob endured while struggling to build his family, the House of Israel, he rectified Adam’s 130 years of separation from Eve (see Rashi on Genesis 4:25), during which Adam wasted his seed and created demons, instead of peopling the world with Bney Adam.
G-d’s first command to Adam was “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and conquer it” (Gen. 1:28). As explained by Rabbi Nachman (Likutey Moharan II:7), this commandment is fulfilled not by producing anthropoid monsters but by giving birth to, raising and educating true Children of Adam, who bear the TZURAH (“form”) of ADAM, who was made “in the image of G-d”.
Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their generations were flawed. Cain killed Abel, Canaan sodomized Noah, the Sodomites wanted to sodomize the angels, the kings of Egypt and of the Philistines and the crown prince of Shechem kidnapped women, Ishmael lived by the sword, Esau was a rapist.
Only Jacob was SHALEM, “Whole” or “Perfect” (Gen. 32:18): Jacob bore the true TZURAH of ADAM, of whom it is said: “And upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness having the appearance of ADAM upon it from above” (Ezekiel 1:26). When man perfects himself, G-d shines through him and is thus revealed in the world.
Jacob is sometimes called Yaakov, sometimes Yisrael. Yaakov is “small” (“Yaakov her SMALL son” Gen. 27:15; “How will Yaakov rise, for he is SMALL” Amos 7:5). In his “small” aspect — his time of struggle and suffering (MOCHIN D’KATNUS, “constricted consciousness”) — Jacob signifies that the revelation of G-d is as yet incomplete and is still proceeding in stages. But Yisrael, Israel, is Jacob’s name of greatness — “for you have struggled with G-d and with men and you have prevailed” (Gen. 32:29).In his “great” aspect (MOCHIN D’GADLUS, “expanded consciousness”) Jacob — Israel — signifies that G-d’s greatness is revealed and manifest in the world.
This was the case at the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah, when the entire world shook with G-d’s self-revelation. It was the case during the reigns of King David and his son Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. And it will be the case again in the near future, when G-d’s House of Prayer for All the Nations will stand in the center of the world on Mount Moriah in the Holy City of Jerusalem. [The intensity of the hatred in much of the world today for all that goes by the name of Israel signifies how far the world is from HaShem. But “the people that go in darkness will see great light and those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, light has shone upon them” (Isaiah 9:11).]
Our parshah of VAYECHI puts the seal on the first of the Five Books of Moses, the book of Genesis (Bereishis), portraying Jacob, the rectified Adam, in his “good” years at the end of his life. They are good years, because Jacob is now reunited with Joseph, who is in his place of true glory ruling over Egypt. Jacob’s main love was essentially for Rachel. It was for her that he served Laban, and it was because Joseph was Rachel’s firstborn that “Israel loved Joseph out of all his sons” (Gen. 37:3). While Leah signifies the “hidden realm”, Rachel signifies G-d’s glory revealed in and through this world. This comes about when Jacob-Israel (=ADAM, the Soul complete with its Nefesh, Ru’ach and Neshamah levels) conquers Esau (=the Serpent, ASIYAH, the realm of material activity), using this world to build a sanctuary for G-d.
Our parshah of VAYECHI also contains a number of specific allusions to the Temple in Jerusalem, as in Jacob’s blessing to Judah (Gen. 49:11) and especially his blessing to Benjamin (ibid. v. 27). The Temple Altar stood in the territory of Benjamin, son of Rachel. Thus in Jacob’s funeral procession, his twelve sons carried him up to the Land of Israel in the same positions in which their descendents the twelve tribes encamped around the Sanctuary in the Wilderness. Jacob and his sons, the House of Israel, are the Sanctuary in which G-d dwells in the world. “And I will dwell within them” (Exodus 25:8).
HEAR O ISRAEL!
Jacob spent the final “good” years of his life fulfilling the commandment to be spiritually fruitful — by educating the young, especially his grandson Ephraim (see Rashi on Gen. 48:1: “Ephraim was habitually with Jacob learning”). Jacob’sfinal blessings, will and testament to his sons, with their harsh chastisements, were also intended to be educational.
According to tradition, “At the time when Jacob our father assembled his sons in Egypt at the hour of his death, he commanded and spurred them on in the unification of the name of G-d and that they should follow the path of HaShem that Abraham and Isaac his father walked. He asked them and said, ‘My sons, maybe someone among you is flawed and does not stand with me in the Unification of the Name.?’ They all answered and said, ‘Hear Israel HaShem our G-d HaShem is One’ — that is, ‘Hear from us, our father Israel, HaShem our G-d HaShem is one’. The old man answered ‘Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingship for ever and ever!’ And this is why all Israel has the custom of repeating the expression of the praise used by Israel when he was an old man after this verse”. (Rambam, Laws of Recital of Shema Ch. 1:4).
Jacob’s death-bed blessings to his sons contain some of the most beautiful flights of Biblical poetry. It is noteworthy that Onkelos, author of the best-known Aramaic Targum (= “translation”) of the Five Books of Moses, departs here from his usual practice of giving the simplest, clearest PSHAT (= “simple meaning”) of the Biblical text except where DRUSH, Midrash, “searching out” beneath the surface is absolutely indispensable. However here, as in the case of some other highly poetic passages (the Song at the Sea, Bilaam’s blessings, the Song of Moses — HA-AZINU — and his final blessings), Onkelos felt obliged to introduce MIDRASH into his Targum in order to bring out the essential meaning of the text, which contains allusions to all historical periods and especially the time of Mashiach.
Thus it is Onkelos who informs us that SHILOH (Gen. 49:10) is Mashiach. The Tribes are compared to various animals. Judah is a lion, Issachar is a wide-boned donkey, Dan is a serpent, Naftali a gracious hind, Benjamin a preying fox. In the case of Jacob’s children, the animal qualities are elevated in order to destroy the wicked and give the victory to G-d. Thus Onkelos translates Gen. 49:14-15 as: “Yissachar will be wealthy in possessions and his inheritance is between the boundaries. And he saw that his share is good and that the land produces fruits. And he conquered the territories of the nations and destroyed their inhabitants and those who remain of them will serve him and pay him taxes.” Onkelos translates the blessing of Benjamin (v. 49:27: “Benjamin is a preying fox, in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the prey”) as: “In the land of Benjamin the Shechinah will dwell (= TISHREI) and in his inheritance the Holy Temple will be built, in the morning and in the afternoon the priests will offer sacrifices and in the evening they will divide the rest of their portions from the other offerings”.
Onkelos himself was a GER TZEDEK (“righteous convert”). He was the son of the sister of the Roman Emperor Titus.” It is said that before Onkelos converted, he raised the spirits of Titus, Balaam, and Yeshu from hell in order to find out the truth. All three confirmed that the nation of Israel is held in the highest repute in the world to come (Gittin 56b, 57a). Onkelos learned Torah from Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (“Rabbi Eliezer the Great”) and Rabbi Yehoshua, who were outstanding students of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and were also the teacher-partners of Rabbi Akiva. Onkelos’ Targum is the first and most authoritative “commentary” on the Torah.
AND THE DWELLER OF THE LAND OF THE CANAANITE SAW.
When Joseph went up with his brothers to bury Jacob, “they came to the threshing floor of Atad (= bramble)” (Gen. 50:10). According to Rashi, “It was surrounded by brambles. All the kings of Canaan and princes of Ishmael came to war, but when they saw the crown of Joseph hung on Jacob’s ARON (= Ark), they all stood and hung their crowns and surrounded him with crowns from the threshing-floor which was surrounded by a fence of brambles.
The kings and Canaan and princes of Ishmael were confounded by the ARON, the holy ark of Jacob, crowned with the crown of Joseph.
According to tradition, this took place on during Chanukah-time. Jacob’s HISTALKUS (ascent) was on 15th Tishri, the first night of Succos. The Egyptians wept for him seventy days, upon which Joseph and his brothers went up to Israel to bury him. The seventieth day after 15th of Tishri is 25th Kislev, the first day of Chanukah. The initial letters of the four Hebrew words in the verse “and the dweller of the land of the Canaanite saw” are the permutation of the name of HaShem that holds sway in the month of Kislev (see Kavanos of Rosh Chodesh Musaf prayers).
There is an integral conceptual connection between Jacob’s funeral procession and Chanukah, which is the time of the inauguration of the Temple. Jacob’s twelve sons, the holy House of Israel, under the leadership of Joseph the Tzaddik, were taking Jacob — the archetypal House-Builder — to his final, eternal house and home in the Cave of Machpelah, the resting place of Adam and Eve as well as the patriarchs and matriarchs.
The funeral procession was a “rehearsal” for the formation in which the twelve tribes would would bring the Ark of the Covenant up from the wilderness and into the Holy Land. This is paradigmatic of the building of the Holy Temple, the House of G-d on the spot where Jacob had his dream of the ladder: “This is none other than the House of G-d and this is the Gate of Heaven” (Gen. 28:17). That place is alluded to in the opening word of the Torah, BEREISHIS, the letters of which, when re-arranged, spell out BAYIS ROSH, the House that is Head (=Tefilin shel Rosh). It was to that place that Joseph promised his brothers that they would return from Egypt: “G-d will surely redeem you and bring you up from this land to the Land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob” (Gen. 50:24).
CHAZAK! CHAZAK! VE-NIS-CHAZEK! –“Be strong! Be strong — and we will be strong!”
Shabbat Shalom! – by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BetYisrael International.
Gaddi – President