Weekly Torah Portion: Vayechi (Genesis 47:28 – 50:26)


In this Torah portion, Joseph promises Jacob that he will bury him in Canaan. On his death bed, Jacob blesses his grandchildren Ephraim and Menashe. Jacob then blesses each of his sons. Jacob dies and is embalmed. Joseph affirms to his brothers that he has forgiven them for their misdeeds. At the end of the Book of Genesis, Joseph dies. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“What will happen when we no longer exchange and probe the stories handed down about the lives of our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins? How will we remember our origins and the fraught environments in which we grew?” – Rabbi Rachel Adler in 2012. Read the drash

“A recent survey suggests that churchgoing people tend to be happier and more satisfied than their a-religious peers. Is that because they pray? No, says the survey, it’s the people who attend religious services and also have networks of church-based friends who report more life satisfaction.” – Rabbi Lisa in 2010. Read the full drash

“It’s a problem that our sacred literature is so male-oriented. But in rabbinical school I’ve been lucky enough to study with women scholars like Rachel Adler, author of Engendering Judaism, and Tamara Eskenazi, author of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary.” – Joe Hample in 2007. Read the full drash

“‘If only God would give me a sign,’ someone said to me this week, stricken with uncertainty and worry about a decision that had to be made. ‘If God did give you a sign, would you recognize it as such?’” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2004. Read the full drash

“Rabbi Heschel famously wrote: ‘When I marched in Selma, I felt that my feet were praying.’ It’s a wonderful statement and image, isn’t it? How the act of walking can become a prayer.” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2002. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“Besides, although you intended me harm, God intended it for good, so as to bring about the present result — the survival of many people.”
(Genesis 50:20; Parashat Vayechi)

Other Suggested Readings

“How do we have hard conversations with people that are close to us? I am not sure I have the answer, but every year, I am inspired by Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers as described in this week’s Torah portion.” – Read from Leah Zimmerman’s Experiencing Torah

When someone Jewish is Dying what makes it Jewish? Interview with Rabbi Amy Eilberg. Read from our Telephone Torah Study archives

Rabbi Elliot Kukla discusses gender diversity in Jewish tradition and in both Biblical and Rabbinic text, weaving together contemporary stories of gender non-conforming and intersex people. Read on Keshet’s website

Memory, continuity and identity: like the river. Peter Phillips from the U.K. writes about Harvey Milk in the context of this week’s torah portion on Leo Baeck College’s website. read

Khazak, khazak, v’nitkhazek Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another

*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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