VaYechi "And he lived"

Genesis 47:28-50:26

1 Kings 2:1-12

1 Peter 1:3-9


"Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years, and the days of Jacob-the years of his life-were 147 years. The time approached for Israel to die, so he called for his son Joseph..." Now as the family history shows in the Torah, Jacob goes on to bless Joseph, his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (to this day, all Jewish people who follow tradition bless their sons every Shabbat evening with the blessing, "May HaShem make you like Ephraim and Manasseh."). Jacob not only blesses Joseph's sons, but adopts them as his own and continues on by blessing each and every one of his (Jacob's) sons with a prophetic word.


These were the blessings given by Jacob to his twelve sons written in Genesis 49: Reuven, the first born, should have received the rights of first born. He was disqualified for desecrating his father's bed. The bible states that he was hasty like the rush of water. He laid on his father's bed and desecrated it (49:3-4).

Shimon and Levi. Jacob cursed their anger for they took the sword to the people in Shechem (49:5-7). For this they were scattered among the tribes.

Judah was blessed by Jacob, as he stated that he will be on the neck of his enemies and his brothers will bow down to him. As Gen. (49:10) states, "The Scepter shall not leave Judah and lawmakers from his descendants, until Shiloh (The Messiah) arrives.

Zebulon was a tribe that became merchants on shores of the land extending up to Zidon (49:13).

Yissachar is compared to a strong beast of burden. He received goodly fertile land which would bless whatever he planted (49:14).

Dan is compared to "the snake that bites the heel of the horse, which then bucks its rider." Dan will judge his people as the other tribes of Israel" (Gen.49:16). The sages see this as a reference to Samson who destroyed many Philistines.

Gad will overcome his enemies with military prowess (49:19).

Asher will produce rich foods. He too will be blessed with fertile lands (49:20).

Naphtali is a deer let loose, producing magnificent fawns. He would be very busy producing greatly from his farming (49:21).

Joseph is a fruitful tree. His branches will reach over the walls. He will be mighty and his arms will be strengthened. Basically he will be blessed (49:22-26).

Benjamin is compared to a wolf that tears apart his prey in the morning and divides the booty in the evening (Gen.49:27).


It is amazing how this fits into our time. How we all have been blessed as sons. GOD chose to reconcile or adopt those who are not appointed with our family (the Jewish people) by grafting them in (adopting) those who are separated from the covenant, and brought in to that special relationship. Romans 10:17. "Wild olive woods [the people of the nations who accept Messiah Yeshua, the king of Israel] were grafted in among them to share the richness of the root and sap of the olive tree."


At his time of death, Jacob stated that Judah would lead the way, and through his family line, would one day come the one from whom the scepter shall not depart (Gen 49:10). As we end the book of Genesis, may all of us receive the result, the outcome, the consummation of our faith, the salvation that we all have longed for.


"Chazak! Chazak! Venitzachzeik!" "Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!"


Shavua Tov


Rabbi Z.

Return to Home Page

Current D’var