Vayechi: Part Two

Part two of two,, or Vayhi (וַיְחִי — Hebrew for “and he lived,” the first word of the parashah) is the twelfth weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the last in the Book of Genesis. We examine the blessing of the other sons of Jacob. Jacob gathered his sons and asked them to listen to what would befall them in time. Jacob called Reuben his firstborn, his might, and the first-fruits of his strength; unstable as water, he would not have the best because he defiled his father’s bed. The second open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) ends here.

In the continuation of the reading (עליה, aliyah), Jacob called Simeon and Levi brothers in violence, prayed that his soul not come into their council — for in their anger they slew men and beasts — and cursed their descendants to be scattered throughout Israel. The third open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) ends here.

In the continuation of the reading (עליה, aliyah), Jacob called Judah a lion’s whelp and told him that he would dominate his enemies, his brothers would bow before him, and his descendants would rule as long as men came to Shiloh. Binding his foal to the vine, he would wash his garments in wine, and his teeth would be white with milk. The fourth open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) ends here.

In the continuation of the reading (עליה, aliyah), Jacob foretold that Zebulun’s descendants would dwell at the shore near Sidon, and would work the ships. The fifth open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) ends here.

As the reading (עליה, aliyah) continues, Jacob called Issachar a large-boned donkey couching between the sheep-folds, he bowed his shoulder to work, and his descendants would dwell in a pleasant land. The sixth open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) ends here.

In the continuation of the reading (עליה, aliyah), Jacob called Dan a serpent in the road that bites the horse’s heels, and he would judge his people. Jacob interjected that he longed for God’s salvation. The fourth reading (עליה, aliyah) and the seventh open portion (פתוחה, petuchah) end here.




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