This week in Torah

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December 22, 2018 – Vayechi (“He lived”) – Parshat 12

  • Torah: Genesis 47:28-50:26
  • Haftara: 1 Kings 2:1-12
  • Brit Chadasha: John 13:1-19

וַיְחִ֤י יַעֲקֹב֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם שְׁבַ֥ע עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָ֑ה וַיְהִ֤י יְמֵֽי־יַעֲקֹב֙ שְׁנֵ֣י חַיָּ֔יו שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֔ים וְאַרְבָּעִ֥ים וּמְאַ֖ת שָׁנָֽה׃

Vayechi Ya’akov be’erets Mitsrayim shva esreh shanah vayehi yemey-Ya’akov shney chayav sheva shanim ve’arba’im ume’at shanah.

Jacob lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt, so that the span of Jacob’s life came to one hundred and forty-seven years.

There is no break in text of Torah between Vayigash and this weeks portion Vayechi as is the case with every other portion in Torah. The sages and rabbi’s saw this as a connected or “closed reading” because of the closing of Yacob’s revelation to the identity of Mashiach as he began to prophesy over his sons. Midrash Rabbah says “why is this section more closed than all other sections of Torah? Jacob wished to reveal the end of days but the matter was closed from him, or hidden from him. (Genesis Rabbah) But be that as it may, Yacob’s blessings reveal much to his people even with a “closed revelation” being the case.

The prophesy over Yahuda; concerning “The scepter will not depart from Judah” is disconcerting in that when Babylon took Judah captive and Nebuchadnezzar took away the last king in the Davidic line, the kingdom of the “tabernacle of David” had fallen. It would appear that that messianic hope was lost according to Yacob’s vision. But the Talmud refers to the Messiah as “the son of the fallen” (Bar Nafli). “Son of the fallen” hardly sounds like a name for our Mashiach Yeshua because it sounds like a name for one born out of failure or rebellion. The sages were inferring that he was called the “son of the fallen house of David.” It is not a title of rejection … but hope!

“The Messiah is called “Son of the Fallen” because “the kingdom of David will rise again. Just like a man who falls surely will stand up again and will not remain forever fallen, so too will the fallen kingdom of the house of David. It will be reestablished, and thus, the scepter will not be removed from Judah. When King Messiah comes, he will raise up David’s fallen Sukkah, for he is worthy to raise it up again … therefore it says [in Amos 9:11], “in that day I will raise up the fallen sukkah of David.” (Netzach Yisra’el)

The fact that Nebuchadnezzar toppled it, gives life to the words of Adonai that promised and prophesied it’s return. Why? So we can look to and rejoice in the certain return of the “Son of David” to fulfill His words! That is why in the Talmud could boldly proclaim the name for Mashiach “Bar Nafli” because HaShem is faithful and true and everything he declares will stand.

Yeshiyahu 43:12&13 “I have declared, I have saved, and I have shown; and there was no strange god among you. Therefore you are my witnesses,” says the LORD, “and I am God. Yes, since the day was I am he; and there is no one who can deliver out of my hand. I will work, and who can hinder it?”

Walk in the surety of His abundant blessings as you live for and trust in the “son of the fallen” this week. And may you pray with us, yes Mashiach! may you restore the fallen sukkah of your father David in our days and in our time.

Ahav V’shalom Mish’pachah love and peace to our family in Messiah from Beth Hallel Lodi