Torah Tidbits

Happy 2016!    

Shabbat Parashat VaYechi

December 26, 2015 – 14 Tevet 5776   

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As we conclude the chanting of this week’s Torah portion of VaYechi, and with it the reading of the entire Biblical Book of Genesis, we recite the Hebrew words of blessing: “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek! [Be strong, be strong, and may we all be strengthened]!”

At the beginning of our weekly Torah portion, we understand that Jacob knew that he was nearing the end of his life on this earth.  In a very moving part of our parsha, we read: “When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you,” [VaYitchazek Yisrael] Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.” (Genesis 48:2)  And, after telling Joseph that God had blessed Jacob earlier in life, Jacob asked Joseph to allow him to bless Joseph’s children – his youngest grandchildren.

Especially in times of transition, it may take all of our strength to find just the right words of blessing for one another.  Nevertheless, the importance of making the effort to speak words of blessing from the heart should not be underestimated.

Whether we are moving through stages of our individual lives, or from one year into a new year, or even concluding our reading of the Book of Genesis and moving into our reading of the Book of Exodus, let us take the time to pause mindfully to bless one another so that we may all be strengthened in the days to come.

Shabbat Shalom and a very happy and healthy 2016 to you and to your loved ones!
Rabbi Gilah Dror