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Table Talk-Vayechi-Jacob’s Face-Eisav-Chesed Print E-mail

Table-Talk-Shabbat-Parsha-Discussions-VayechiJacob includes the following in his blessing of Joseph: “But his bow was firmly emplaced and his arms were gilded, from the hands of the Mighty Power of Jacob; from there he shepherded the stone of Israel (49:24).” “This refers to the way Joseph overcame his Evil Inclination in his confrontation with the wife of his master, when his father’s image appeared to him, and he controlled himself (Rashi, Verse 26).”  Where did Yosef see his father’s image? Did he just happen to see his image? Did Jacob play a role and do something earlier in Joseph’s life that made sure that his image would appear when needed?



Why does Eisav appear so often in Jacob’s blessings of Leah’s oldest four children? Judah: “Your hand will be at your enemies’ nape (49:8), referring to his prowess in battle (Rashi). ‘Hands,’ belong to Eisav, as in, “The hands are the hands of Eisav (27:22),” so much so that the Talmud teaches, “No one achieves victory without the hands of Eisav (Gittin 57b).”

Shimon and Levi: “Their weaponry is a stolen craft (49:5),” and Rashi says, ‘stolen from Eisav!

Reuven: “Water-like impetuosity (49:4),” a quality associated with Esau Impetuous as water is also compared to Eisav; She called his name Reuven (29:32),” as if to say, “Ri’u, See the difference between my son and my father-in-law’s son, Eisav, who quickly sold the birthright (Rashi).”

Hint: “She stopped giving birth (29:35),” something it doesn’t say it about any of the other three woman, and, Leah did have more children!

“Leah’s eyes were tender (29:17),” because she constantly wept in prayer that she need not marry Eisav as older sister to older brother (Rashi).

Chesed shel Emet:

Is it harder to risk your life to save another’s or to refrain from speaking Lishon harah about them? Which is the greater Chesed?

Consider: How do you feel after doing a Chesed? The Rambam teaches that there is no greater joy than to help the vulnerable. Why is Joseph’s burial of Jacob in Egypt the most famous Chesed shel Emet?  He did receive something in exchange; the extra portion in the Land of Israel. Plus, Joseph is family; is that a Chesed for Jacob?

Hint: “Please do not bury me in Egypt (47:29),” because, 1) The third of the Ten Plagues, Kinim, or locusts, will consume the earth, and perhaps bodies buried there; 2) At the time of The Resurrection of the Dead, those buried outside of Israel will experience a painful process; and, 3) Jacob was concerned lest the Egyptians worship his grave and body as an Avodah Zarah, an idol. There is no immediate or certain danger. Jacob is asking that Joseph protect him from possible danger that may occur far into the future.

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