Sunday, January 01, 2012

posts so far for parshat Vayechi


  1. Vaychi sources -- further expanded.
  2. Is חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת a hendiadysI don't know. But I think that this is what Rashi, following the midrash, is suggesting as a matter of peshat.
  3. Does Rashi predict moshiach in 2011No. He cites Rav Saadia Gaon who predicts it in 1405, or rather, 1399. Of course, if you want to kvetch it, you can make Rashi or any sources say anything you want it to. But this shows only your own creativity and ability to distort Jewish sources. Also, a nice tie-in to this week's parasha, Vaychi.
  4. Darshening El Yisrael as Eil Yisrael --  Is this a revocalization for the sake of derash, or does it reflect their actual vocalization?
  5. Reuven and Bilhah --  In Midrash Rabba, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi takes a peshat-approach to the incident.
  6. Parsha questions -- From Junior's school parsha sheet, questions on the parsha for Shabbos table discussion. Coupled with my answers.
  7. The incident with Reuven and Bilhah, in light of Divrei Hayamim and the Code of Hammurabi --  The Torah's recording of the incident in Vayishlach is terse, and Chazal interpret it in two ways. And the seeming reference to the incident in Yaakov's blessing in Vaychi is cryptic. But Divrei Hayamim expands upon it. Plus, there is a fascinating parallel in the Code of Hamurabbi that sheds excellent light on the matter.
  8. A blessing for Yosef, or for his sons?  Rumors of a popular variant have been greatly exaggerated. And in fact, contextcan support a blessing for Yosef alone. Update: I am wrong about the Peshita on this post. I was misled by a mislabeled Targum.
  9. Salvation -- nothing to sneeze atWhy the sudden interjection in Yaakov's blessings?

Dec 2009

  1. Vaychi sources -- more than 100 meforshim on the parsha and haftora.
  2. For how long does Binyamin consume his preyA Chizkuni on Vaychi, where he parses apasuk apparently against its trup, past the etnachta, as baboker yochal ad la'erev. With the same justification he offered in last week's parsha.
  3. The trup on va`ani -- A variant trup has revii on Bereishit 48:22 instead of gershayim. What would be the difference, in terms of the parse of the pasuk?
  4. Ibn Caspi on the "calling" of Yehuda -- Once again, Ibn Caspi interprets the trup, which informs us of meaning. This time the revii on Yehuda of Yehuda ata yoducha achecha. Also, a clarification of what Ibn Caspi means when referring to the gaaya -- namely, a zakef gadol, which is a disjunctive accent..
  5. The yetiv on ad ki yavo Shilo -- According to Rabbenu Bachya's rebbe, the trup on ad ki yavo Shilo led Onkelos to renderad as forever, such that it is "forever once mashiach comes", rather than "until mashiach comes". This is a good response to Christians. But Shadal doesn't find it compelling.
  6. The possible double entendre of Lo Yasur Shevet Miyhuda -- namely, until Shelah comes.

Jan 2009

December 2007

  • An Open Canon Vs. Changing The Truth
    • Did Yaakov really command the brothers to tell Yosef to forgive his brothers their transgression. This hooks into the question of whether Yaakov ever found out about the sale of Yosef. Now, the brothers relate this command to Yosef, but we never see Yaakov command this. And a gemara in Yevamot, 65b, states that this was a changing of the truth for the sake of peace, as a precedent for doing the same. It is also a closed-canon approach. An open canon approach would allow otherwise unknown event to occur. And an example from Yona where something happens without being previously mentioned.
  • The Trup On "Asher Kana Avraham"
    • and why on such similar words across pesukim, the trup shifts over. A Wickes-based explanation, featuring trup charts and Prepositional Phrases.

  • The Count of Pesukim in Sefer Bereishit
    • Understanding the extended gematria in a masoretic note. Plus, ד appears to stand for shem haShem here!
  • Yaakov Avinu Didn't Die
    • We consider the famous midrash, and discussion in Taanit that Yaakov Avinu did not die. Was Rav Yitzchak going for a spit-take? What are the implications of this statement? How exactly is this deduced midrashically from the pasuk in Yirmiya, and how does that pasuk work on a peshat level, from the perspective of poetic parallelism?
Dec 2004


  • Maaseh Avot Siman LaBanim
    • To Eliezer's oath to Avraham. An oath to a dying man, a theme of staying rooted in Eretz Yisrael. Also, where they differ.
  • Why Did Yaakov Bow? And Did Yaakov Bow?
    • I recommend this one. In it, I suggest that vayishtachu does not mean "bowed" but rather "lied prostrate," because he was weak and sick. This is in contrast to later, when the pasuk relates that he became strengthened and sat on the head of the bed.
  • Further Maaseh Avot Siman LaBanim
    • A striking similarity between the presentation of Ephraim and Menashe to Yaakov, and the earlier meeting of Esav and Yaakov.
  • A Final Maaseh Avot Siman LaBanim
    • In which Yaakov seemingly recreates his theft of Yitzchak's blessing when he blesses Ephraim and Menashe.

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