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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Vayechi

The Unique Character of the Grandparent Relationship

by Rabbi Avi Weiss Posted on May 25, 2016

Notified that his father Yaakov (Jacob) is sick, Yosef (Joseph) takes his sons Ephraim and Menashe to see their grandfather. As they enter, Yaakov proclaims “mi eileh?” “Who are these?” (Genesis 48:8). Having already been in Egypt for 17 years, is it possible that Yaakov didn’t know the identity of his grandsons? Some commentators suggest Continue Reading »

Change. Yes We Can?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 24, 2015

What is the interplay between character, fate, and free will? How much does the character that one is born with determine whether he or she will be good or evil? Is it ever possible to change who we are, our essential character, and if not, can we at least find a way to rise above Continue Reading »

You Call This a Blessing?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 31, 2014

As Yaakov’s life draws to a close, he calls his children to his bedside and blesses them. In twenty-six verses of beautiful poetry he addresses each son in turn, tailoring his words to what is most appropriate for that particular son. These poetic utterances are not initially described as blessings but as a form of prophecy: “Gather Continue Reading »

A Thought on the Parsha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 28, 2012

I’d like to share with all of you a slightly edited version of a beautiful piece written by my wife, Devorah Zlochower, and delivered by her as the Shabbat Sermon when she served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Young Israel of Hillcrest in 2009. When I was a little girl, one of the things I looked Continue Reading »

Character, Fate, and Free Will

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 17, 2010

In previous few parshiyot we have been exploring the character of the different protagonists in Breishit – Yaakov, Reuven, Yosef, and Yehuda. In this week’s parsha, VaYechi, which brings a close to the Yosef story and to the book of Breishit, we have an opportunity to explore the interplay between character, fate, and free will. How much Continue Reading »