Vayechi - January 2, 2021

Torah Portion:
Vayechi - January 2, 2021

Torah: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftarah: 1 Kings 2:1-12
Portion Summary:
—Jacob blesses his grandsons by Joseph and gives the younger the blessing of the firstborn.
—Jacob prophesies over his sons.
—Jacob dies, and Joseph has his body embalmed. He takes it back to the land for burial.
—Joseph’s brothers fear his retribution, but he assures them of his forgiveness.
—Joseph dies.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
“Then Joseph took the two of them—Ephraim with his right hand across from Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand across from Israel’s right—and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it upon Ephraim’s head (though he was the younger) and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands (though Manasseh was the firstborn).” Genesis 48:13-14 (TLV)

Israel had some time ago decided that his firstborn, Reuben, was not acceptable to receive the blessing of the firstborn. In giving Jospeh a special coat of many colors, his father was passing the honor and privileges of being firstborn. In this portion many years later, we see Israel privately giving a special blessing to Joseph’s sons. By crossing his hands and placing his right hand on the head of the younger child, he was prophetically choosing the younger child to inherit the firstborn’s blessing. This action was their grandfather’s way of cementing their stake in the family’s legacy. He could have chosen any of the other brothers to bestow this blessing upon, but Israel chose his grandsons even though they were born in a foreign land. He may have done this because he had foresight as to the fate of his descendants and knew that they would not always live in Israel. Even so, Ephraim and Manasseh are included as descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, despite being born and having lived outside of “The Land.”

The blessing given to sons at the Shabbat table is, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Similarly, the blessing for daughters is, “May you be like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah.” While these are good blessings for anyone who is “grafted in,” there are others we can pass onto our children: blessings of peace, for God to strengthen them, and that the hand of the Lord always would be on their lives! Find unique blessings for your children—it is a great encouragement to them and could bring them into a life filled with the love of Yeshua!

My Father,
Thank You for my children, and that You gave these special ones to me to nurture and guide. I pray for Your inspiration in blessing them, encouraging them, and raising them up to know You.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.
End of the book of Genesis:

!חֱזַק! חֱזַק! וְנִתְחַזֵק
Chazak! Chazak! V’nee Chazek!
Be strong! Be strong! And be strengthened!
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