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Parshat Vayechi

Again during this camp season I will be sharing the words of Dena Weiss.

"This week we conclude the book of Bereishit with the death of Ya’akov. Midrashic tradition teaches that Ya'akov prayed to become ill before he died so that he would know that his end was approaching and could put his affairs in order. And indeed, as Ya'akov sees that the time has come, he summons his grandchildren and his sons to bless them and guide them before it is too late. Yet, the berakhot (blessings) that Ya'akov bestows on his three eldest sons are not particularly encouraging or uplifting. Instead of praising them and promising them bright futures, he uses this opportunity to rebuke them. He excoriates Reuven for his hot-headedness and sexual improprieties. He condemns Shimon and Levi for their violent natures and says that he does not want to be associated with them in the afterlife" - Dena Weiss

Ya'akov is gifted with the power to end tie up loose ends and see things to their conclusions. Death is usually not so simple. In the past months many of my good friends have seen their loved ones pass. Some died slowly, a painful process for those witnessing the deterioration of a loved one whereas others did not get a chance to say goodbye. The Midrash in the Bava Metizia that explains the death of Ya'akov illustrates the ideal way to go. Many are not as lucky.

I would like to encourage us all to act as supports for those around us as well as to recognize that compassionate deaths enable people to leave the world on their own terms.

Shabbat Shalom

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