Parashat Vayehi

On his deathbed, Jacob blesses his sons and asks them to bury him in Canaan.

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Later, Jacob gathered his sons. "I wish to tell you what will befall you in the aftermath of days. Listen: Reuben, you are my first-born, my strength and the first of my acquisitions, privileged in rank and power. But instability like water in you does not permit you this privilege, for you have mounted your father's couch and profaned it.

"Shimeon and Levi are brothers, but instruments of violence are the means of acquiring gain. My will must not enter their council. A curse therefore upon their anger, for it is too cruel. I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel."

"Judah, you are the one; to you will your brothers do homage. Judah is like a lion. The scepter will not depart from Judah nor the law inscribing stylus from between his feet, until his sprout, seemingly the last and weakest, will come. Then it will be to him, the one of manly strength, that the nations, dulled with age, will fall."

"Zebulun will dwell at a bay of seas. He will become a harbor for ships."

"Yissakhar, a nimble beast of burden, rests between the rows of household vessels. He has given to pay the tribute of the tiller of the soil."

"Dan will champion the right of his people as only one of the tribes of Israel can. Dan will become a serpent on the highway, which bits the charger's heel so that the rider falls backward."

"Gad, many a troop will drive into him like a wedge, but he will drive like a wedge into their heel. Through Asher his food will become rich and he will yield royal delights."

"Naphtali, a gazelle-like messenger, delivers eloquent speeches."

"Joseph was a noble, outstanding son. When they heaped bitter abuse upon him, he remained serene, already blessed from God. You will remain with the All-Sufficing Who will continue to bless you."

"Benjamin will tear the wolf to pieces. He will eat a portion in the morning, but in the evening he will divide it as spoil."

Jacob & Joseph Pass Away

These are the 12 tribes of Israel. After he blessed them, Jacob commanded them to bury him in the Cave of Makhpelah in the land of Canaan where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Leah were buried. Jacob dies and is gathered to his peoples.

Joseph commanded his servants and physicians to embalm his father. It took 40 days for embalming. The Egyptians wept for 70 days. Then, with Pharaoh’s permission, Joseph went with all his servants and elders to bury his father. When they came to Bramble Barn beyond the Jordan, they held a very great and impressive lamentation with a seven-day mourning period. The sons then buried Jacob as he requested.

With Jacob buried, the brothers worried that Joseph might hold a grudge against them and punish them for the evil done before. So they said to Joseph, "Our father said to please forgive the crimes of your brothers."

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.