Parsha ‘Vayechi,’ “And lived Yakov…” is the last one in the Book of Genesis, and concludes the lives of both Yakov, or Jacob, and later his son Yosef/Joseph (Genesis/Bereshiet 47:28 on). It’s also arguably the first of the “grafting in” stories of the ‘house of Israel,’ in the form of Yakov’s ‘adoption’ of Yosef’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (or is it the other way around?) into the ‘twelve’ tribes — depending on how they are counted in context, of course.

And it sets the stage for the bondage to follow.

On Erev Shabbat, Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa first covers the whole story, and some of those important nuances:

On first reading, this might be one of the few stories in the Bible where there is no obvious antagonist, or bad guy, much less a character that seems to represent ‘the Adversary,’ or outright evil. And yet, the word certainly appears, and there’s a setup for the next Book of Exodus that begs an important question: How did these sons of Israel descend so dramatically into bondage and slavery?

And, interestingly, it took about the same time for them as it did for America, since the Revolution for independence, to end up in another form of bondage.

Mark suggests that it hinges on a question that Jacob asks his son, apparently concerning his grandsons, but also for which he already knew the answer: “Whose are THESE?”

The Sabbath Day teaching suggests the question is about FAR more than meets the eye.

“Vayechi: Dealing With Evil”

The combined two-part podcast is here: