In Loving Memory of our Dear Parents

Benjamin Assa & Rebeca Assa z"L

Parasha Vaiji

And with the closing Parasha of the Book of Bereishit the narration of the life of the patriarchs concludes.

Yaakov feels that the end of his days are approaching, calls Joseph, his son, and makes him swear that the he will not bury him in Egypt, but in “Mearat Hamajpelah” next to his forefathers.

Yaakov blesses Menashe and Efraim, Joseph´s two sons, so that they will each be a father of a tribe in Israel, thereby elevating them to the status of his sons:

In blessing them, Yaakov places his right hand on Efraim’s head and his left on Menashe´s, crossing his arms, since Joseph had placed the elder Manashe to his father’s right. Joseph thinks that his father—who has grown blind in his old age, doesn’t realize that the elder son is to his right.

And Joseph said: “No father, it´s not like this, he is the first born!”

“ I know my son” Yaakov responded “he will also be great, but truly his younger brother will be greater than him, and his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”

And Yaakov blesses them with the beracha parents have been saying to their children for more than 3,000 years:

" Yesimej Elo-ím KeEfraim ve Menashe ...

Yaacov hands over the birthright to Joseph, granting him a double inheritance, and turning Efraim and Menashe into two tribes of Am Israel.

Yaakov bids farewell to his 12 sons, and blesses each of them individually defining their roles as respective tribes.

And Yaakov passes away and is honored with a historic funeral procession  The Egyptians, the people from Canaan  the servants of Pharaoh and his children bury him in Mearat Hamajpelah, as he wished.

Upon returning to Egypt, Joseph´s brothers fear that he will have a change in behavior toward them, and Joseph tells them, “...Fear not, for I will nourish you and your little ones...”

And that´s how it happened, they lived in harmony and abundance. 

At the age of 110 Joseph passes away, but before doing so makes his brothers swear that when they leave Egypt they will take his bones with them so he can be buried in the Promised Land.

And the Parasha concludes like this... 

“Joseph’s body is placed in a coffin to await the day of return to the Promised Land.”

 ¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !!

Perasha Vaigash

Joseph took Benyamin as a slave and said to his brothers,“Leave him here as my slave, and you may return in peace to your
father´s house!” Yehuda offered himself as a slave to the Egyptian ruler in Benyamin’s stead.


When Joseph witnessed his brothers´ loyalty to one another, he revealed his identity to them. But before doing so, he asked all of the Egyptians to leave the room so he wouldn´t embaress his brothers.


I am Joseph, whom you sold to Egypt” he said. “Is my father still alive?” he asked. The brothers were terrified and could not answer.

 

Overcome with shame Joseph comforted them “Do not grieve having sold me... for it is Hashem who sent me here, and it was not caused by you,” he calmed them.

 

It was all a Masterplan from Hashem to save us, and the entire region from famine.”

 

Pharaoh feared that Joseph would want to leave Egypt to return to his father.

 

So he sends wagons to bring Yaakov and his entire family to Egypt, and declares: “The bounty of the entire land of Egypt is yours.”

 

The brothers worried about how to break the news to their father that they had found Joseph alive and ruler of Egypt. They instructed Serach, Asher's daughter, to appear before Yaakov with her harp, “and sing a melody, stating that Joseph is still alive.” She obeyed and Yaakov blessed her with a long life for having revived his soul after 22 years of mourning his lost son.

 

Yaakov went down to Egypt with his sons and their families, seventy souls in all, and is reunited with his beloved son after 22 years. On his way to Egypt he receives the Divine promise: “Fear not, go down to Egypt; for I will there and make of you a great nation. I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again.”

Joseph gathers the wealth of Egypt by selling food and seed during the famine.

Hashem caused this great fortune to be gathered in Egypt in order to fulfill His promise to Avraham that the Jewish People would leave the country with great wealth.

 

Yaakov and his family settled in the land of Goshen and the children of Israel prosper.

 

Perasha Miketz

Joseph was 30 years old and marries Asenat, and they have 2 children: Menashe and Efraim.

Joseph oversees the implementation of his plan, so that when the years of famine commence, “There was hunger in all the lands but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.”

Yaakov, hearing that there is food in Egypt, sends his ten older sons there to purchase grain, but Benyamin, stays with Yaakov.

The brothers arrive in Egypt and come before Joseph, “And they bowed themselves down before him with their faces to the ground.” They do not recognize Joseph.

However, Joseph does recognize them and accuses them of being spies. They deny it and explain to him that they are 12 brothers and that they travelled to Egypt looking for food, they continue explaining that one brother stayed behind and the other one had disappeared.

Joseph asks them to bring their younger brother so he can believe them. And he detains Simon until they come back with the younger brother.

Out of compassion, Joseph cries in secret. And orders that all of the money that his brothers payed for food, should be returned to them.

When they reach Canaan, they tell Yaakov what occurred and he refuses to send Benyamin.

Finally he accepts and sends Benyamin, and they arrive to Egypt where Joseph receives them with a banquet. And to their surprise, they are seated by age.

And Joseph asks them for their “elderly father” and they answer him that he is alive and well.

Joseph left the room to weep........

And Joseph commanded Menashe his son to “Fill the sacks of these people with grain. Return each one´s money to his sack and hide my silver cup in Benyamin´s sack.”

 

On the following day Joseph sends his steward after them “Why have you paid back evil for good?” he accuses them. “Why, this is the cup from which my lord drinks, and whereby indeed he divines. You have done evil in so doing.”

 

“Search us and whoever has it will die and the rest will be the lord´s slaves.”

 

And they find the cup in Benyamin´s sack!!

 

They all approach Joseph and Yehuda tells him that they will all remain as slaves, Joseph does not accept and tells them:

“Only the man in whose sack the cup was found shall be my slave, and the rest of you may go back to your father in peace!”

Perasha Veieshev

Yaakov settles in the Land of Canaan, where he lived a brief period of tranquility. He gives Joseph, his most adored son, a multi-colored coat.

At the age of 17 Joseph has two dreams:

 . . . “Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

Joseph dreamed the dream, and he told it to his brothers, causing jealousy and hatred towards them.

Then he dreamt another dream:

“The sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me.”

And once again he tells his brothers the dream and the envy and the hate increase.

One day, Joseph´s brothers go out to the field.

Yaakov asks Joseph to get them. When his brothers see him, they decide to kill him, but Reuven (the eldest), proposes they throw him into a pit with the intention of picking him out later.

And as soon as Joseph comes near, his brethren took off his robe and cast him into the pit.

Soon after, they see in the distance a caravan of Yishamaelin whose camels were loaded with spices and Yehuda, the leader, proposes they sell him to them, and that´s what they do, and Joseph is brought to Egypt.

And he is sold as a slave to Potifar, Pharaoh´s minister.

The brothers stained the multi-colored goat with goat´s blood and give it to their dad.

Immediately Yaakov recognizes it and tears his clothes, mourning Joseph without comfort.

The Torah interrupts its narrative by inserting here the chapter of Yehuda and Tamar:

Yehuda, Yaakov´s 4th son, gets married and has three sons: Er, Onan and Shaila. Er, marries Tamar, and dies. Yehuda asks Onan to take Tamar as his wife, so he can fulfill the mitzvah of yibum. Onan obeys, but also dies.

Time passes and Yehuda is widowed.

Motivated by intentions that were purely leshem shamayim, she provokes a relationship with him, and gets pregnant. She asks Yehuda to give her a pledge. Yehuda does not recognize her and gives her his signet ring, his cloak, and his staff.

**Yehuda did not recognize Tamar, for she had always modestly veiled her face in his house**

When Yehuda learns that his daughter-in-law is pregnant (not realizing it was his child), sentences her to death.

As she was being led out to be burnt, she proclaims

“ I am pregnant by the man to whom these belong.”

Dismayed, Yehuda, accepts the truth, recognizes his mistake and saves Tamar. Tamar bears twins from this pregnancy: Peretz and Zerach.

Meanwhile in Egypt, Joseph prospers with much success. Potifar´s wife, fascinated by Joseph´s beauty, tries to seduce him various times, but Joseph on all occasions denies her. She, wounded and angry, falsely accuses him with her husband saying that Joseph tried to rape her, and they imprison him.

In prison, Pharaoh s chief butler and chief baker tell Joseph about their strange dream. Joseph interprets their dreams and foretells exactly what happens, and asks the butler that when he returns to his position in the royal court to mention him to Pharaoh´s so he can be liberated from prison.

The butler is liberated, but forgets about Joseph.

Joseph remained in prison for 12 years, from the age of 18-30!!

SHABAT SHALOM !!

Parasha Vaishlach

Yaakov returns to the Holy Land after a 20-year stay in Charan, and sends angels to meet his brother Esav, hoping to make amends with him.

But his messengers return to Yaakov to yell him that his brother on the warpath with 400 armed men. Yaakov prepares for warprays, and sends Esav a large gift with hundreds of heads of livestock to make peace with him.

That night, Yaakov travels with his family and possessions across the Yabok River. However, Yaakov remains behind and encounters the angel of Esav with whom he wrestles with all night long. The angel managed to dislocate Yaakov´s thigh.

The angel gives him the name Israel, which means “ You have fought against celestial beings (Esav´s angel) and against mortals ( Lavan and Esav) and you prevailed. You are worthy of your father´s blessings!”

Yaakov and Esav meet, they embrace and kiss, and go different ways.

Yaakov purchases a piece of land near Shechem, whose governor Shechem, abducts and rapes Yaakov´s daughter Dinah. Shimon and Levi, Dinah´s brothers avenge the deed and kill all male inhabitants of the city, on the third day after their circumcision, at the height of their weakness.

Reuven interferes with his father’s marital life and loses his birthright.

 

The Parasha concludes when Yaakov arrives in Hebron.

 

 

SHABBAT SHALOM!!

Perasha Vayetze

On the following day Yaakov complains to Laban and this cheater and swindler proposes 7 more years of labor in order to hand him Rachel. And that´s what happened. And Yaakov loved Rachel.

Yaakov has 4 children with Leah: Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda.

Rachel, infertile, asks Yaakov to take her handmaid Bilhah. Bilhah gives birth to a son, Dan, and then to another, Naftali.

Leah stops conceiving and hands Yaakov her handmaid Zilpah. Zilpah bears two children, Gad and Asher.

Reuven brings for Leah, his mom mandrakes he had picked in the field so she could conceive. But when Rachel finds out, she buys the mandrakes from Leah in exchange “for the night” with Yaakov.

And Leah conceives a fifth son, Issachar. She then gives birth to another son, Zebulun, and to a daughter Dinah.

And Hashem remembered Rachel!! And she gets pregnant, and gives birth to Joseph!!

Yaakov announces his retirement to Laban, but when Laban sees how he has succeeded because of Yaakov´s labor, he begs him to stay. And Yaakov accepts.

After twenty years in Charan, Hashem appears to Yaakov and tells him that it is time to go home. Yaakov takes his family and possessions, and flees in secret.

Laban pursues Yaakov, but is warned by Hashem in a dream not to harm him.

And so Laban only asks him for an explanation as to why he ran away on secret, and claims some idols that have gone missing. And Yaakov (without knowing that Rachel had them) answers Laban: “Search us, for whoever took them shall die!”

Laban searches and does not find the idols, they bid farewell and they make a peace pact, to be attested to by a mound of stones.

Yaakov continues his trip back to his parents´ hometown after a 36 years of separation. And angels of G-d met him to escort him into the Holy Land.

Up until this moment 11 out of the 12 Tribes of Israel had been born.

¡¡ SHABAT SHALOM !!

Parasha Toldot

A famine forces Itzjak to relocate and settles in Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, which is within the boundaries of the Holy Land, where he presents Rivka as his sister. But Abimelech the king, discovers the hoax. Abimelej orders protection over Itzjak.

Itzjak becomes successful and prosperous.

The shepherds of Abimelech and those of Itzjak fight over the water wells. But Hashem blesses Itzjak and he decides to make a peace treaty with Abimelech.

Esav marries at the age of 40 to Yehudit and Basemat (goyim ). 

Already old and suffering from blindness, Itzjak decides to bless Esav so he can leave him his spiritual legacy. When Rifka finds out, she advises Yaakov to dress as Esav so he can receive the blessings.

Yaakov covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Yaakov to his father. Yaakov receives his father’s blessings for “the dew of the heaven” and “the fat of the land” and mastery over his brother.

When Esav returns, Itzjak realizes that he gave the beraja to Yaakov, and suffers from a great deception. But gives Esav another blessing.

Esav gets very upset and decides to kill Yaakov. But Rivka warns Yaakov and orders to him to flee to Laban´s (her uncle) home, and to look for a wife.

When Esav learns that his father is upset because he married goyim, Esav takes a third wife, Machalat, Ishmael´s daughter.

Parasha Jaye-Sara

Sarah dies at the age of 127 after finding out about the Akedat Itzjak.

And Abraham pays a high fee to buy the best place where to bury Sarah, Mearat Hamajpelah (double cave), in Hebron, where Adam and Chava´s bodies laid. And he buries her there. 

At the age of 140, Abraham sends Eliezer, his loyal servant, in search of a good wife for his son Itzjak. 

And Abraham makes Eliezer swear: “that you will not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Itzjak...”

Hashem travels with 10 camels in order to fulfill his mission....

Eliezer prays to Hashem: “Behold, I stand here by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water.”

“Let it come to pass that the maiden to whom I shall say, ‘Please, dip down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she shall say, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels to drink also’—she is the one You have appointed for Your servant Itzjak.”

As he finishes his tefila RIVKA appears, beautiful. And Eliezer asks her for water, and she cordially gives him to drink and his camels as well. 

When Eliezer asks her for her family, Rivka answers that she is Bethuel´s, tn of Nachor, 

Abraham´s brother´s, daughter. 

Eliezer thanks Hashem!!

Rivka invites him to stay at her house. And Eliezer meets her father Bethuel, and his brother Laban. And Rivka's engagement to Itzjak is formalized.

Eliezer in the name of Abraham, gives Rivka beautiful gifts of gold and silver and garments.

Parasha Vayera

 

This Parasha begins with 3 Malajim (angels) who visit Abraham on the 3rd day after his Brit Mila. Abraham, despite his pain, and eager to fulfill the mitzva of hospitality, goes out of his tent to receive these special “guests”, who he thought were just ordinary people walking through the desert.

One of these Malajim, tells Abraham that Sarah will give birth to a boy next year! And Sarah laughs.... and Hashem asks Abraham: Is there anything that is impossible for Hashem?

The angels leave, and go on their way to the city of Sodom to destroy it, fulfilling an order from Hashem to do so. And Abraham pleads before Hashem to save the city of Sodom from destruction....

When the angels arrive to Sodom, they stay at Lot´s home (Abraham´s nephew). The wicked neighbors demand that Lot hands in his visitors so they can abuse them!!! But Lot denies them. And the angels flee from Sodom, rescuing Lot, his wife and two daughters.

Hashem rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from out of heaven. Hashem turned over these cities and the entire plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and the vegetation of the ground.

Lot’s wife violates this command, looks back to witness Hashem´s destruction of Sodom, and turns into a pillar of

Believing that “there is not a man left alive on the earth” the daughters of Lot get their father drunk and lie with him, both becoming pregnant.

They conceive Moab and Ammon, giving birth to 2 nations forbidden to join the people of Israel.

Abraham and Sarah emigrate to Gerar. Abraham introduces Sarah as his sister, and king Avimelech takes her to his palace. But Hashem, through a dream, tells Avimelech that he will be punished for having taken Sarah, although he never touched her.

Sarah is returned, untouched, to Abraham with much apologies and gifts from the repentant king.

Exactly one year after the angel announced to Abraham that Sarah will give birth to a child, Itzjak, in the year 2048 is born!! And he was circumcised at 8 days old. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90.

As Itzjak was growing up, Sarah realized that Ishmael was a bad example for her son. And asked Abraham to banish Hagar and her son from her house. Abraham accepts.

As Hagar and Ishmael wander in the desert heat, they run out of water. Hagar walks away from her dying son and prays to Hashem. Hashem hears her cry and shows her a well for her thirsty son. Hashem sends an angel to tell Hagar that Ishmael will not die and that he will become a father of a great nation.

The last chapter of the Parasha narrates about Abraham´s last test:

AKEDAT ITZJAK!!

Hashem tested Abraham´s devotion and asked him to sacrifice his son Itzjak at the age of 37.

Abraham obeyed and when he was about to sacrifice him, he heard the voice of an angel: "... Abraham, do not stretch out your hand to the young man, and do not do anything to him, for now I know how fearful of Hashem you are. "And he refrained from beheading him, and in turn he beheaded a ram.”

Hashem blesses Abraham and his descendants!!

Vayeira concludes with report of a granddaughter born to Abraham’s brother Nachor, named Rifka (destined to become Itzjak´s wife).

SHABAT SHALOM !!

Perasha Lech-Lecha

This Parasha speaks about the life of Abraham Avinu.

Lech-Lecha means: “Go,” since Hashem orders Abraham to abandon his birthplace, his father´s house, and to go to an uncertain land which Hashem will show him.

Abram obeys and takes his wife, Sarai, accompanied by his nephew Lot, and head to the land of Canaan,

A famine strikes Canaan and Abram decides to descend to Egypt.

In Egypt, Sarai is taken by Pharaoh, but with Hashem´s help, Abram recuperates her and leaves Egypt with many riches.

Abram, Sarai and Lot return to Canaan and back in the land of Canaan Lot separates from Abram and settles in the evil city of Sedom.

Lot is taken prisoner, due to a War of Nations. Abram sets out with a small band to rescue his nephew, defeats the four kings, and is blessed by Malki-Zedek the king of Salem (Jerusalem).

Hashem promises Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the “Dust from the Earth” and that all of the Land of Canaan (Israel) will belong to him and all his descendants as an eternal heritage.

Abram is 70 years old and Sarai is 60 and they are childless, but Hashem tells him “Look now toward heaven and count the stars.... So shall be your progeny.”

Your descendants shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved to them, and they will afflict them, for four hundred years.

Sarai tells Abram to take her handmaid, Hagar, so he can have a child. Hagar gives birth to Ishmael, Abram was 86 years old.

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin and all the men of his household as well.

Hashem changes AbraHam and SaraH´s name and announces that in one year Sarah will give birth to a baby boy!

SHABAT SHALOM !!

Perasha Noach

Hashem instructs Noah—the only righteous man in a world consumed by violence and corruption—to build a large wooden tevah (“ark”), coated on the inside and on the outside with tar. A great flood, says Hashem, will wipe out all form life from the face of the earth; but the ark will float upon the water, protecting Noah and his family, and two members (male and female) of each animal species.

Rain falls for 40 days and nights, and the waters beat for 150 more days, before beginning to subside. The ark rests on Mount Ararat, and from his window, Noah sends a raven, then a series of doves “to see if the waters have abated from the face of the earth.”

Then the ground completely dries, exactly one solar year (365 days) since the beginning of the flood, Hashem orders Noah to leave the ark and to re-populate the earth.

Noah builds an altar and offers sacrifices to Hashem. Hashem swears never again to destroy all of mankind because of their deeds, and sets the rainbow as a testimony of His new covenant with man

Hashem instructs Noah regarding the sacredness of life: murder is regarded as a capital offense, and while man is permitted to eat the meat of animals, he is forbidden to eat flesh or blood taken from any living animal.

Noah plants a vineyard and becomes drunk on its produce. Two of Noah’s sons, Shem and ,Japheth are blessed for covering up their father’s nudeness, while his third son, Ham, is punished for taking advantage of his perversion

For 10 generations Noah´s descendants remain as one nation, with one language. Then they defy their Creator by building an enormous tower which symbolized their “own” power and invincibility  Hashem confuses them by mixing their language in a way no one understood what the other was saying, causing them to give up on their project and they disperse across the face of the earth; separating into 70 nations.

The Parshah of Noach concludes with a chronology of the ten generations from Noah to Abram (later Abraham ), and Abraham´s journey from his birthplace of Ur Casdim to Charan, on the way to the land of Canaan.


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