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29 And when the time approached for Yisrael to die, he summoned his son Yosef and said to him, “Do me this favor, place your hand under my thigh as a pledge of your steadfast loyalty: please do not bury me in Egypt.
30 When I lie down with my fathers, take me up from Egypt and bury me in their burial-place.” He replied, “I will do as you have spoken.”
v’-sha-khav-TEE im a-vo-TAI un-sa-TA-nee mi-mitz-RA-yim uk-var-TA-nee bik-vu-ra-TAM va-yo-MAR a-no-KHEE e-SEH khid-va-RE-kha
ל וְשָׁכַבְתִּי עִם־אֲבֹתַי וּנְשָׂאתַנִי מִמִּצְרַיִם וּקְבַרְתַּנִי בִּקְבֻרָתָם וַיֹּאמַר אָנֹכִי אֶעֱשֶׂה כִדְבָרֶךָ׃
47:30 Take me up from Egypt
In requesting that he be buried in Eretz Yisrael with his father and grandfather, Yaakov is instilling in Yosef a message to carry through the ages. Though he journeyed to Egypt with God’s blessing, Yaakov longs to return to the Holy Land — if not during his lifetime then at least after death. No matter how comfortable life may be at this historical juncture, Yaakov recognizes that Egypt is not where he belongs. He wants only to return to the land of his fathers. Yosef takes his father’s message to heart, and later insists that his own bones also be carried back to the Land of Israel when the nation will ultimately be redeemed from Egypt (Genesis 50:25).
31 And he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. Then Yisrael bowed at the head of the bed.
לא וַיֹּאמֶר הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי וַיִּשָּׁבַע לוֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה׃
4 and said to me, ‘I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a community of peoples; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession.’
va-YO-mer ay-LAI hi-n’-NEE maf-r’-KHA v’-hir-bee-TI-kha un-ta-TEE-kha lik-HAL a-MEEM v’-NA-ta-TEE et ha-A-retz ha-ZOT l’-zar-a-KHA a-kha-RE-kha a-khu-ZAT o-LAM
ד וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הִנְנִי מַפְרְךָ וְהִרְבִּיתִךָ וּנְתַתִּיךָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם׃
ה וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי־בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד־בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי־הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵן וְשִׁמְעוֹן יִהְיוּ־לִי׃
6 But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be recorded instead of their brothers in their inheritance.
ו וּמוֹלַדְתְּךָ אֲשֶׁר־הוֹלַדְתָּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם לְךָ יִהְיוּ עַל שֵׁם אֲחֵיהֶם יִקָּרְאוּ בְּנַחֲלָתָם׃
7 I [do this because], when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, while I was journeying in the land of Canaan, when still some distance short of Efrat; and I buried her there on the road to Efrat”—now Beit Lechem.
9 And Yosef said to his father, “They are my sons, whom Hashem has given me here.” “Bring them up to me,” he said, “that I may bless them.”
ט וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל־אָבִיו בָּנַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן־לִי אֱלֹהִים בָּזֶה וַיֹּאמַר קָחֶם־נָא אֵלַי וַאֲבָרֲכֵם׃
י וְעֵינֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּבְדוּ מִזֹּקֶן לֹא יוּכַל לִרְאוֹת וַיַּגֵּשׁ אֹתָם אֵלָיו וַיִּשַּׁק לָהֶם וַיְחַבֵּק לָהֶם׃
12 Yosef then removed them from his knees, and bowed low with his face to the ground.
יב וַיּוֹצֵא יוֹסֵף אֹתָם מֵעִם בִּרְכָּיו וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְאַפָּיו אָרְצָה׃
יד וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל־רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר וְאֶת־שְׂמֹאלוֹ עַל־רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה שִׂכֵּל אֶת־יָדָיו כִּי מְנַשֶּׁה הַבְּכוֹר׃
48:16 May my name be recalled
The Hebrew word for ‘name’ is shem (שם). The great master of the Hebrew language, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, explains that the word shem is related to the word sham (שם), meaning ‘there.’ Rabbi Hirsch explains that by naming and defining something, one puts it in its proper ‘place.’ Here, Yaakov blesses his grandsons Efraim and Menashe, by placing their ancestors’ names upon them, thereby establishing their ‘place’ within the spiritual legacy of their forbears.Comment
יז וַיַּרְא יוֹסֵף כִּי־יָשִׁית אָבִיו יַד־יְמִינוֹ עַל־רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וַיֵּרַע בְּעֵינָיו וַיִּתְמֹךְ יַד־אָבִיו לְהָסִיר אֹתָהּ מֵעַל רֹאשׁ־אֶפְרַיִם עַל־רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה׃
18 “Not so, Father,” Yosef said to his father, “for the other is the first-born; place your right hand on his head.”
יח וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל־אָבִיו לֹא־כֵן אָבִי כִּי־זֶה הַבְּכֹר שִׂים יְמִינְךָ עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ׃
19 But his father objected, saying, “I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.”
יט וַיְמָאֵן אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר יָדַעְתִּי בְנִי יָדַעְתִּי גַּם־הוּא יִהְיֶה־לְּעָם וְגַם־הוּא יִגְדָּל וְאוּלָם אָחִיו הַקָּטֹן יִגְדַּל מִמֶּנּוּ וְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא־הַגּוֹיִם׃
כ וַיְבָרֲכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמוֹר בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־אֶפְרַיִם לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה׃
48:20 By you shall Yisrael invoke blessings
As dictated by this verse, to this day Jewish parents bless their sons each Shabbat with the words, “May Hashem make you like Efraim and Menashe.” Out of all the biblical heroes possible to emulate, what is special about Efraim and Menashe? Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, explains that the two sons of Yosef play a very significant role in the formation of the Jewish people. They are the first of Avraham’s family to be born in Egypt, yet despite their physical disconnection from Eretz Yisrael, they remain loyal to the traditions of their ancestors. Efraim and Menashe, therefore, represent a key to the survival of the Jewish people and their return to Israel in the future. For this reason, they are chosen as special role models for the Children of Israel.1 comment
22 And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”
כב וַאֲנִי נָתַתִּי לְךָ שְׁכֶם אַחַד עַל־אַחֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר לָקַחְתִּי מִיַּד הָאֱמֹרִי בְּחַרְבִּי וּבְקַשְׁתִּי׃
49:1 And Yaakov called his sons and said, “Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come.
מט:א וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב אֶל־בָּנָיו וַיֹּאמֶר הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם אֵת אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָא אֶתְכֶם בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים׃
3 Reuven, you are my first-born, My might and first fruit of my vigor, Exceeding in rank And exceeding in honor.
ג רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹרִי אַתָּה כֹּחִי וְרֵאשִׁית אוֹנִי יֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עָז׃
4 Unstable as water, you shall excel no longer; For when you mounted your father’s bed, You brought disgrace—my couch he mounted!
ד פַּחַז כַּמַּיִם אַל־תּוֹתַר כִּי עָלִיתָ מִשְׁכְּבֵי אָבִיךָ אָז חִלַּלְתָּ יְצוּעִי עָלָה׃
ה שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי אַחִים כְּלֵי חָמָס מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶם׃
6 Let not my person be included in their council, Let not my being be counted in their assembly. For when angry they slay men, And when pleased they maim oxen.
ו בְּסֹדָם אַל־תָּבֹא נַפְשִׁי בִּקְהָלָם אַל־תֵּחַד כְּבֹדִי כִּי בְאַפָּם הָרְגוּ אִישׁ וּבִרְצֹנָם עִקְּרוּ־שׁוֹר׃
8 You, O Yehuda, your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes; Your father’s sons shall bow low to you.
ח יְהוּדָה אַתָּה יוֹדוּךָ אַחֶיךָ יָדְךָ בְּעֹרֶף אֹיְבֶיךָ יִשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אָבִיךָ׃
9 Yehuda is a lion’s whelp; On prey, my son, have you grown. He crouches, lies down like a lion, Like the king of beasts—who dare rouse him?
ט גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ׃
10 The scepter shall not depart from Yehuda, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet; So that tribute shall come to him And the homage of peoples be his.
lo ya-SUR SHAY-vet mee-hu-DAH um-kho-KAYK mi-BAYN rag-LAV AD kee ya-VO shee-LOH v’-LO yi-k-HAHT a-MEEM
49:10 So that tribute shall come to him
The Hebrew word for tribute in this verse is Shilo (שילה). Fourteenth century scholar Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, known by the name of his Bible commentary as the Baal Haturim, reveals a hidden connection between the word Shilo (שילה) and Mashiach (משיח), the Hebrew word for ‘Messiah.’ According to the mystical study of gematriya, every Hebrew letter corresponds to a different number. With this understanding, if the numerical values of diverse words and ideas match each other, this means they are secretly connected. Amazingly, the numerical value of the words yavo shilo (יבא שילה), ‘Shilo shall come,’ is to 358 which is exactly the same value as the word Mashiach. With prophetic foresight, Yaakov blesses Yehuda not only with the monarchy, but with the eventual emergence of the Messiah through his lineage.4 comments
11 He tethers his ass to a vine, His ass’s foal to a choice vine; He washes his garment in wine, His robe in blood of grapes.
יא אֹסְרִי לַגֶּפֶן עירה [עִירוֹ] וְלַשֹּׂרֵקָה בְּנִי אֲתֹנוֹ כִּבֵּס בַּיַּיִן לְבֻשׁוֹ וּבְדַם־עֲנָבִים סותה [סוּתוֹ׃]
12 His eyes are darker than wine; His teeth are whiter than milk.
יב חַכְלִילִי עֵינַיִם מִיָּיִן וּלְבֶן־שִׁנַּיִם מֵחָלָב׃
13 Zevulun shall dwell by the seashore; He shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall rest on Tzidon.
z’-vu-LUN l’-KHOF ya-MEEM yish-KON v’-HU l’-KHOF a-ni-YOT v’-yar-kha-TO al tzee-DON
יג זְבוּלֻן לְחוֹף יַמִּים יִשְׁכֹּן וְהוּא לְחוֹף אֳנִיּוֹת וְיַרְכָתוֹ עַל־צִידֹן׃
49:13 Zevulun shall dwell by the seashore
Each of the twelve tribes of Israel is to receive a specific portion of the land, corresponding to that tribe’s unique spiritual attributes. According to Jewish tradition, the sons of Zevulun, who were given a coastal territory as their inheritance, became successful sea merchants and entered into a special partnership with the tribe of Yissachar, descendants of Zevulun’s closest brother. According to the arrangement they forged, members of the tribe of Zevulun would use some of their commercial profits to financially support the sons of Yissachar, noted scholars who would devote their energies to full time Torah study. In turn, they would share the spiritual revenue and heavenly reward of the joint venture with their brethren from Zevulun. Today as well, in many Israeli communities it is a common practice for business people to seek out a spiritual partner, supporting the learning of a Torah scholar in a mutually-beneficial partnership modeled after the original Yissachar-Zevulun agreement.Comment
14 Yissachar is a strong-boned ass, Crouching among the sheepfolds.
יד יִשָּׂשכָר חֲמֹר גָּרֶם רֹבֵץ בֵּין הַמִּשְׁפְּתָיִם׃
15 When he saw how good was security, And how pleasant was the country, He bent his shoulder to the burden, And became a toiling serf.
טו וַיַּרְא מְנֻחָה כִּי טוֹב וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ כִּי נָעֵמָה וַיֵּט שִׁכְמוֹ לִסְבֹּל וַיְהִי לְמַס־עֹבֵד׃
17 Dan shall be a serpent by the road, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that his rider is thrown backward.
יז יְהִי־דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי־דֶרֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי־אֹרַח הַנֹּשֵׁךְ עִקְּבֵי־סוּס וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ אָחוֹר׃
18 I wait for Your deliverance, Hashem!
יח לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה׃
19 Gad shall be raided by raiders, But he shall raid at their heels.
יט גָּד גְּדוּד יְגוּדֶנּוּ וְהוּא יָגֻד עָקֵב׃
20 Asher‘s bread shall be rich, And he shall yield royal dainties.
כ מֵאָשֵׁר שְׁמֵנָה לַחְמוֹ וְהוּא יִתֵּן מַעֲדַנֵּי־מֶלֶךְ׃
21 Naftali is a hind let loose, Which yields lovely fawns.
כא נַפְתָּלִי אַיָּלָה שְׁלֻחָה הַנֹּתֵן אִמְרֵי־שָׁפֶר׃
22 Yosef is a wild ass, A wild ass by a spring —Wild colts on a hillside.
כב בֵּן פֹּרָת יוֹסֵף בֵּן פֹּרָת עֲלֵי־עָיִן בָּנוֹת צָעֲדָה עֲלֵי־שׁוּר׃
23 Archers bitterly assailed him; They shot at him and harried him.
כג וַיְמָרֲרֻהוּ וָרֹבּוּ וַיִּשְׂטְמֻהוּ בַּעֲלֵי חִצִּים׃
25 The God of your father who helps you, And Shaddai who blesses you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that couches below, Blessings of the breast and womb.
כה מֵאֵל אָבִיךָ וְיַעְזְרֶךָּ וְאֵת שַׁדַּי וִיבָרְכֶךָּ בִּרְכֹת שָׁמַיִם מֵעָל בִּרְכֹת תְּהוֹם רֹבֶצֶת תָּחַת בִּרְכֹת שָׁדַיִם וָרָחַם׃
26 The blessings of your father Surpass the blessings of my ancestors, To the utmost bounds of the eternal hills. May they rest on the head of Yosef, On the brow of the elect of his brothers.
כו בִּרְכֹת אָבִיךָ גָּבְרוּ עַל־בִּרְכֹת הוֹרַי עַד־תַּאֲוַת גִּבְעֹת עוֹלָם תִּהְיֶין לְרֹאשׁ יוֹסֵף וּלְקָדְקֹד נְזִיר אֶחָיו׃
27 Binyamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he consumes the foe, And in the evening he divides the spoil.”
כז בִּנְיָמִין זְאֵב יִטְרָף בַּבֹּקֶר יֹאכַל עַד וְלָעֶרֶב יְחַלֵּק שָׁלָל׃
28 All these were the tribes of Yisrael, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.
כח כָּל־אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם׃
29 Then he instructed them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
כט וַיְצַו אוֹתָם וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם אֲנִי נֶאֱסָף אֶל־עַמִּי קִבְרוּ אֹתִי אֶל־אֲבֹתָי אֶל־הַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׂדֵה עֶפְרוֹן הַחִתִּי׃
32 the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.”
לב מִקְנֵה הַשָּׂדֶה וְהַמְּעָרָה אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ מֵאֵת בְּנֵי־חֵת׃
33 When Yaakov finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his people.
לג וַיְכַל יַעֲקֹב לְצַוּׂת אֶת־בָּנָיו וַיֶּאֱסֹף רַגְלָיו אֶל־הַמִּטָּה וַיִּגְוַע וַיֵּאָסֶף אֶל־עַמָּיו׃
50:1 Yosef flung himself upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him.
נ:א וַיִּפֹּל יוֹסֵף עַל־פְּנֵי אָבִיו וַיֵּבְךְּ עָלָיו וַיִּשַּׁק־לוֹ׃
3 It required forty days, for such is the full period of embalming. The Egyptians bewailed him seventy days;
ג וַיִּמְלְאוּ־לוֹ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם כִּי כֵּן יִמְלְאוּ יְמֵי הַחֲנֻטִים וַיִּבְכּוּ אֹתוֹ מִצְרַיִם שִׁבְעִים יוֹם׃
5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die. Be sure to bury me in the grave which I made ready for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now, therefore, let me go up and bury my father; then I shall return.’”
ה אָבִי הִשְׁבִּיעַנִי לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מֵת בְּקִבְרִי אֲשֶׁר כָּרִיתִי לִי בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן שָׁמָּה תִּקְבְּרֵנִי וְעַתָּה אֶעֱלֶה־נָּא וְאֶקְבְּרָה אֶת־אָבִי וְאָשׁוּבָה׃
6 And Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you promise on oath.”
ו וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה עֲלֵה וּקְבֹר אֶת־אָבִיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר הִשְׁבִּיעֶךָ׃
9 Chariots, too, and horsemen went up with him; it was a very large troop.
ט וַיַּעַל עִמּוֹ גַּם־רֶכֶב גַּם־פָּרָשִׁים וַיְהִי הַמַּחֲנֶה כָּבֵד מְאֹד׃
10 When they came to Goren ha-Atad, which is beyond the Yarden, they held there a very great and solemn lamentation; and he observed a mourning period of seven days for his father.
י וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד־גֹּרֶן הָאָטָד אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן וַיִּסְפְּדוּ־שָׁם מִסְפֵּד גָּדוֹל וְכָבֵד מְאֹד וַיַּעַשׂ לְאָבִיו אֵבֶל שִׁבְעַת יָמִים׃
11 And when the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at Goren ha-Atad, they said, “This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” That is why it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Yarden.
12 Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them.
יב וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בָנָיו לוֹ כֵּן כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּם׃
יד וַיָּשָׁב יוֹסֵף מִצְרַיְמָה הוּא וְאֶחָיו וְכָל־הָעֹלִים אִתּוֹ לִקְבֹּר אֶת־אָבִיו אַחֲרֵי קָבְרוֹ אֶת־אָבִיו׃
16 So they sent this message to Yosef, “Before his death your father left this instruction:
טז וַיְצַוּוּ אֶל־יוֹסֵף לֵאמֹר אָבִיךָ צִוָּה לִפְנֵי מוֹתוֹ לֵאמֹר׃
17 So shall you say to Yosef, ‘Forgive, I urge you, the offense and guilt of your brothers who treated you so harshly.’ Therefore, please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father.” And Yosef was in tears as they spoke to him.
18 His brothers went to him themselves, flung themselves before him, and said, “We are prepared to be your slaves.”
יח וַיֵּלְכוּ גַּם־אֶחָיו וַיִּפְּלוּ לְפָנָיו וַיֹּאמְרוּ הִנֶּנּוּ לְךָ לַעֲבָדִים׃
19 But Yosef said to them, “Have no fear! Am I a substitute for Hashem?
יט וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יוֹסֵף אַל־תִּירָאוּ כִּי הֲתַחַת אֱלֹהִים אָנִי׃
20 Besides, although you intended me harm, Hashem intended it for good, so as to bring about the present result—the survival of many people.
כ וְאַתֶּם חֲשַׁבְתֶּם עָלַי רָעָה אֱלֹהִים חֲשָׁבָהּ לְטֹבָה לְמַעַן עֲשֹׂה כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה לְהַחֲיֹת עַם־רָב׃
21 And so, fear not. I will sustain you and your children.” Thus he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
כא וְעַתָּה אַל־תִּירָאוּ אָנֹכִי אֲכַלְכֵּל אֶתְכֶם וְאֶת־טַפְּכֶם וַיְנַחֵם אוֹתָם וַיְדַבֵּר עַל־לִבָּם׃
24 At length, Yosef said to his brothers, “I am about to die. Hashem will surely take notice of you and bring you up from this land to the land that He promised on oath to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaakov.”