Jacob made Egypt his home for 17 years. He lived
to be 147 years old.
Twelfth of 54 Sedras in the
on 148.3 lines in the
Parshiyot; 7 open, 5 closed
When Israel realized that he would soon die, he
called for his son Joseph.
"If you really want to do me a kindness," he said,
"place your hand under my thigh. Act toward me with truth and kindness, and do
not bury me in Egypt. Let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of
Egypt, and bury me in their grave."
"I will do as you say," replied Joseph. "Swear to me," said Jacob.
Joseph made an oath to him, and, from where he was on the bed, Israel bowed.
A short time after this, Joseph was told that his father was sick.
Joseph went to his father, taking his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, along with him.
When Jacob was told that Joseph was coming to him, Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.
Jacob said to Joseph, "HaShem once appeared to me in Luz, in the land of Canaan. He blessed me,
and said to me, 'I will make you fruitful and numerous, and have you give rise to an assembly of
nations. I will give this land to you and your descendants as their property
forever.' Now, the two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came here shall be considered as mine.
Ephraim and Manasseh shall be just like Reuben and Simeon to me.
Any children that you have after them, however, shall be considered yours. They shall inherit only
through their older brothers. When I was coming from Padan, your
mother Rachel died on me. It was in Canaan, a short distance before we came to Ephrath. I buried her there along
the road to Ephrath (Bethlehem)."
Joseph's sons. "Who are these?" he asked.
"They are the sons that
HaShem gave me here," replied Joseph to his father.
"If you would, bring them to me," said Jacob. "I will give them a blessing."
Israel's eyes were heavy with age, and he could
not see. When Joseph brought his sons near him, Israel kissed them and hugged them.
"I never even hoped to see your face," said
Israel to Joseph. "But now HaShem has even let me see your children."
the boys from near his father's lap, and he bowed down to the ground.
Joseph then took the two boys. He placed Ephraim
to his right (to Israel's left), and Manasseh to his left (to
Israel's right). He then came close to his father. Israel reached out with his right hand and
placed it on Ephraim's head even though he was the
younger son. He placed his left hand on Manasseh's head. He deliberately crossed his hands, even though
Manasseh was the firstborn.
Jacob gave Joseph a blessing. He said,
"HaShem before whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, walked,
is the One who has been my Shepherd from as far back as I can remember until this day,
sending an angel to deliver me from all evil. May He bless the lads, and let them carry my name,
along with the names of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac. May they increase in the land like fish."
When Joseph saw that his father had placed his
right hand on Ephraim's head, he was displeased. He tried to lift his
father's hand from Ephraim's head and place it on Manasseh's.
"That's not the way it should be done, Father,"
said Joseph. "The other one is the first-born. Place your right hand on his head."
His father refused and said,
"I know, my son, I know. The older one will also become a nation. He
too will attain greatness. But his younger brother will become even greater, and his descendants will
become full-fledged nations."
On that day
Jacob blessed them. He said, "In time to come Israel will use you as a blessing. They
will say, 'May HaShem make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'" He
deliberately put Ephraim before Manasseh.
Israel said to Joseph,
"I am dying. HaShem will be with you, and He will bring you back to your ancestral
land. In addition to what your brothers shall share, I am giving you Shechem, which I took from the Amorite
with my sword and bow."
Jacob's Blessings: Reuben, Simeon, Levi
Jacob called for his sons.
When they came, he said, "Come together, and I will tell you what will
happen in the course of time.
Come and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the beginning of my manhood, first in rank and first
in power. But because you were unstable as water, you will no longer be first. This is because you moved
your father's beds, committing a profane act. He moved
="#0080FF">Simeon and Levi are a pair; instruments of crime
are their wares. Let my soul not enter their plot; let my spirit
not unite with their meeting - for they have killed men with anger, maimed bulls with will.
Cursed be their rage, for it is fierce, and their fury, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob,
scatter them in Israel.
Judah, your brothers shall submit to you.
Your hand shall be on your enemies' necks; your father's sons shall bow to you.
Young lion, Judah, you have risen from prey, my son. He crouches, lies like a lion, like an awesome
lion, who will dare rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor
legislation from his descendants. Nations will submit to him until the final tranquility comes.
He loads down his donkey with a single grapevine, his young donkey with a single vine branch.
He even washes his clothes in wine, his cloak in the blood of grapes.
But his eyes are more sparkling than the wine, his teeth whiter than milk.
Zebulun shall settle the seashores; he will be a harbor for ships; his
border shall reach Sidon.
Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, stretching out between the saddlebags.
But he sees that the resting place is good, and that the land is pleasant, so he will bend his back to
the load, working like a slave.
Dan shall fight for his people, like any one of the tribes of Israel.
Let Dan be a snake on the road, a viper on the path, biting the
horse's heel, so the rider falls backward. I pray that HaShem will help you.
Raiders shall raid Gad, but he will raid at their heel.
From Asher shall come the richest foods; he shall provide the
Naphtali is a deer running free; he delivers words of beauty.
Joseph is a fruitful son, like a fruitful vine by the fountain, with branches running over the
wall. People made his life bitter and attacked him; masters of strife made him their target.
But his resolution remained firm, and his arms were eventually
decorated with gold. This was from Jacob's Champion, and from then on, he became a
shepherd, a builder of Israel. This was from your father's HaShem, who will
still help you, and from the Almighty, who will bless you. Yours will
be the blessings of heaven above, the blessing of the water lying beneath, the
blessing of breast and womb. May your father's blessing add to the blessing
of my parents, lasting as long as the eternal hills. May they be for
Joseph's head, for the brow of the elect of his brothers.
Benjamin is a vicious wolf. He eats a portion in the morning, and divides his prey in the
All these are the tribes of Israel, twelve in
all, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He gave each one his own special
his sons final instructions
"I am going to join my people
in death," he said. "Bring me to my fathers, to be buried in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. This is the cave in
Makhpela Field, bordering
Mamre, in the land of Canaan. Abraham bought it along with the field from Ephron the Hittite as burial
property. This is where Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried; this is where Isaac and his wife Rebecca are
buried; and this is where I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and its cave from the
children of Heth is still recognized."
Jacob thus concluded his instructions to his
sons. He drew his feet back onto the bed, breathed his last, and was brought back to his people.
Joseph fell on his father's face. He wept there and kissed his
father. Joseph then ordered his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father. The physicians thus embalmed
It took forty days, since that was the time
required for embalming. Egypt mourned Jacob for seventy days.
When the period of mourning of Jacob was over,
Joseph addressed Pharaoh's court and said, "If you would do me a favor, give the following personal
message to Pharaoh: "My father bound me by an oath and he declared,
"I am dying. You must bury me in the grave that I prepared for myself in the land of Canaan." Now, if
you allow me, I will head north and bury my father. I will return." "
"Go bury your father,"
said Pharaoh, "just as he had you swear."
Joseph headed north to bury his father, and with
him went all of Pharaoh's courtiers who were his palace elders, as well as all the
other elders of Egypt.
Joseph's household, his brothers, and his father's family also
went. All they left behind in Goshen were their small children, their sheep and
their cattle. A chariot brigade and horsemen also went with them. It was a very imposing retinue.
They came to Bramble Barn (Goren HaAtad) on the bank of the Jordan, and there they conducted a great,
imposing funeral. Joseph observed a seven day
mourning period for his father. When the Canaanites living in the area saw the
mourning in Bramble Barn, they said, "Egypt is in deep
mourning here." The place on the bank of the Jordan was therefore called
Egypt's Mourning (Avel Mitzraim). Jacob's sons did as he had instructed them.
His sons carried him to Canaan, and they buried
him in the cave of Makhpelah Field, bordering Mamre. This is the field that Abraham bought for burial
property from Ephron the Hittite. After he buried his father, Joseph returned to
Egypt along with his brothers and all those who went with him to his
father's burial. Joseph's brothers began to realize the
implications of their father's death.
"What if Joseph
is still holding a grudge against us?" they said. "He
is likely to pay us back for all the evil we did him."
messengers to tell Joseph: "Before he died, your father gave us final
instructions. He said, This is what you must say to Joseph: Forgive
the spiteful deed and the sin your brothers committed when they did evil to you." Now forgive the spiteful
deed that we, the servants of your father's G-d, have done."
As the messengers spoke to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves at
his feet. "Here!" they said, "We are your slaves!"
"Don't be afraid," said Joseph to them. "Shall I
then take HaShem's place? You might have meant to do me harm
but HaShem made it come out good. He made it come out as it actually did, where the life of a great nation has
been preserved. Now don't worry. I will fully provide for you
and your children." He thus comforted them and tried to make up.
Joseph remained in Egypt along with his
father's family. He lived to be 110 years old. Joseph saw
Ephraim's grandchildren, and the
children of Manasseh's son Makhir were also born on Joseph's lap.
Joseph said to his close family, "I am dying. God is sure to grant you special providence and bring
you out of this land, to the land that he swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Joseph then bound the Israelites by an oath:
"When HaShem grants you this special providence, you must bring my remains out of this place."
Joseph died at the age of 110 years. He was
embalmed and placed in a sarcophagus in Egypt.