Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vayechi Summary

Ya'akov lives in Egypt for 17 years, to the age of 147. Before he dies he summons Yosef and makes him swear that he will bury him in the land of Israel. A short while later Yosef is told that his father is sick. He takes his two sons to Ya'akov for a blessing. Ya'akov blesses Yosef that his two sons, Menashe and Ephraim, will be considered tribes in their own right. He then blesses the boys, but places his right hand on Ephraim's head, though he is the younger. Yosef tries to correct his father, but Ya'akov explains that the younger son will become greater then the elder. Ya'akov gives Yosef an additional portion in the land of Israel, the city of Shechem.

Ya'akov summons all of his sons and blesses them, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. He once again instructs all of them to bury him in the land of Israel, in the cave of Machpela. As he concludes his instructions to his sons, he draws his feet into the bed, breaths his last and is gathered unto his people. Yosef instructs the court physicians to embalm Ya'akov, and all of Egypt mourns him for 70 days. He then requests permission from Pharaoh to go and bury his father. Pharaoh allows him to go, and he and his brothers, accompanied by all of the palace courtiers, go to bury Ya'akov.

Upon returning to Egypt the brothers fear that Yosef still bears a grudge against them. They therefore send a message to Yosef that their father had instructed him to forgive them. They present themselves to Yosef, and he reassures them that he will provide for them, and that they have nothing to fear.

Yosef lives to the age of 110, and lives to see his great grandsons. Before he dies, he makes his family swear that they will eventually bring him to the land of Israel for burial. When he dies he is embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.

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