Posts Tagged ‘The 10-Line Torah Portion’

Vayehi Torah Portion Summary

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

After living in Egypt for 17 years, Jacob, feeling that his time was limited, asked Joseph to bury him in Canaan, with his family.

Joseph brought his two sons, Menashe and Ephraim to see Jacob, and receive a blessing from him, but when they did so, Jacob insisted that he place his right had on Ephraim and recite his name first, even though he was not the first born.

Later, Jacob gathered the rest of his sons to tell what was to come for each of them, saying that Reuben was unstable like water and that Shimeon and Levi were instruments of anger and would be scattered.

He said that Judah, like a lion, would be a leader in the future, Zebulun would live near the sea, Yissakhar would be a tiller of the soil and Dan would be a serpent of the highway.

He added that Gad would be a great warrior, Naphtali a messenger of brilliant speeches, Joseph a calm and outstanding leader in God’s eyes, and that Benjamin would tear the wolf to pieces and divide it as spoil.

These are the twelve tribes of Israel.

Soon Jacob died, and as instructed, Joseph embalmed his father and brought him to the Cave of Makhpelah, in the land of Canaan, to be buried near Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca and Leah.

After burying their father, Jacobs sons were concerned that Joseph might hold a grudge against them for what they had done in the past, and punish them.

However, after confronting and apologizing to Joseph, he told them not to be afraid, since God meant for their actions to bring them to the present.

Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his brothers, and before dying at the age of 110, he told his brothers that he wished to be buried in Egypt and have his body moved to Canaan if they ever returned to that land.

Miketz Torah Portion Summary

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The Pharoah has some troubling dreams and upon the advice of the baker, called on Joseph to interpret them.

Joseph told the Pharoah that his dreams about seven fat cows being eaten by seven thin cows, and seven healthy ears of corn being devoured by seven thin ears indicated that there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

After advising the Pharoah to stock up on food during the seven good years, the Pharoah made Joseph an important man and changed his name.

Joseph married  the daughter of a priest and had two sons — Menashe and Ephraim.

As predeicted, the seven years of plenty came and passed, and were followed by the seven years of famine.

During these times of starvation, Jacob sent all but one of his sons to get food from the Pharoah, but when Joseph recognized them, he disguised himself as someone they would not recognize, and accused them of being spies.

As Joseph held Shimeon hostage, the other brothers went back home to plead with Jacob to let them bring Benjamin back with them – a request that Jacob eventually agreed to.

Upon seeing Benjamin, Joseph held a great feast and celebrated before sending his brothers home with full bags of grain and all the money they had come with.

However, before leaving, Joseph hid a silver goblet in Benjamin’s bag, and then sent a servant to accuse the brothers and bring back the one who “stole” it.

Since the goblet was found in Benjamin’s bag, he was brought back to Joseph to be his slave, and the rest of the brothers were sent home to Jacob.

Vayishlach Torah Portion Summary

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Many years after marrying Rachel and Leah, Jacob sent servants to visit with his brother, Esau, from whom he had stolen his father’s blessing, to see whether it was safe for him to return home.

When his servants returned with news that his brother was on his way to Jacob’s camp with 400 men, Jacob prayed to God and then split up his camp so that if his brother killed his family, half would survive.

The night before Esau arrived, Jacob struggled with an unknown person, and after an entire night of wrestling, the figure dislocated Jacob’s thigh and blessed him with a new name — Israel.

As it turned out, Esau was thrilled to see his brother, and after a warm embrace, turned down Jacob’s gifts.

After his encounter with Esau, Jacob’s family travelled through Sukkoth, when he built booths as shelter, and then bought land from the sons of Hamor to build an alter to God.

While in this land, Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, was raped by Shekhem, whos soul clung to Dinah, causing him to wish to marry her.

Shekhem wished to marry Dinah, offering a large dowry, and was told by her brothers, Shimeon and Levi, that she could only marry him if all of his men were circumcised.

Three days after their circumcisions, when all of the men were in great pain, Shimeon and Levi killed all of the men, including the one that raped their sister, and took the women and children captive.

Jacob was unhappy with what they had done, and turned to God, who told him to move to Beth-El, on a journey where he once again wrestled and was blessed by God.

While delivering Benjamin, her final child, Rachel died and was buried, followed shortly thereafter by the death of Isaac at the age of 180.

Vayetze Torah Portion Summary

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

After leaving his father’s home, on his way to Laban’s house, Jacob had a dream in which angels were ascending and descending a ladder reaching from the earth to the heavens.

In this dream, God stood behind Jacob and told him that God will protect him and bless him and his descendants.

The next morning, Jacob continued his journey and came to a well with a large stone covering it, which Laban’s daughter, Rachel, was to bring her sheep to drink from.

When Jacob saw Rachel, he told her that he was her kinsman, and was able to move the stone from the well, allowing her sheep to drink, for which Rachel was very thankful.

Jacob stayed at Laban’s home and worked for seven years in exchange for Laban’s promise that Jacob could marry Rachel at the end of that time.

The wedding day came and passed, and the next morning, Jacob awoke to find that he had married Rachel’s older sister, Leah, and had been tricked by Laban who would not let his younger daughter marry before his older daughter.

Jacob then worked another seven years before being able to marry Rachel,

Over time, Jacob had twelve sons – Reuben, Shimeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Yissakhar, Zebulun and Joseph, and a daughter, Dinah.

Jacob then told Laban that he wanted to leave, and took his wives and children in the middle of the night, later telling Laban that he snuck away because he was worried that Laban would take his daughters back by force.

Eventually, Laban blessed them and sent them on their way.

Toldot Torah Portion Summary

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Rebecca and Isaac pray to God since they want a child, and soon after Rebecca feels movement in her stomach, she gives birth to Esau, a hairy son, and Jacob, a smooth-skinned baby.

One day, when Esau, who became a hunter, and Jacob, who became a scholarly gentleman, are adults, Esau returns from the fields starving and feeling faint.

Jacob tricks Esau by offering his brother some stew in exchange for his birthright, which Esau gladly gives up.

Many years later, when Isaac is old and blind, he calls his oldest son, Esau, and asks him to prepare his favorite meal of venison, so that he may bless Esau.

Rebecca overhears this, and favoring Jacob over Esau, she helps Jacob prepare a meal for his father, and urges him to trick Isaac into giving him the blessing that is to to his brother’s.

Jacob dresses in Esau’s clothing and puts goat skin on his hands so that Isaac would think he is his hairy brother, and proceeds to trick his father into giving him the blessing.

Soon after Jacob leaves his father, Esau returns with the meal, ready to receive his blessing.

Upon hearing that Jacob has tricked him, Esau pleades with his father to give him a blessing, but Isaac cannot bless his son as he did Jacob, and angers Esau.

Hearing that Esau is angry enough to kill Jacob, Rebecca sends Jacob to her brother, Laban, and tells Isaac that she sent Jacob away to find a wife from outside of Canaan.

Isaac blesses Jacob as he leaves to find a wife, and Esau goes to the family of Ishmael and takes one of his daughters for a wife.