The last days of December 2020 are within sight, and January 1st 2021 (otherwise known as 17 Tevet, 5781) is upon us. And as we look forward to new beginnings we also will be closing the book of Genesis with Parashah Vayechi – “And (Jacob) lived”… As we saw earlier in Chayei Sarah – the life of Sarah, the word ‘CHAYEI’ really was telling a ‘coded’ message about her death. Here, this week, we read of the death of Yaakov. Yaakov calls Joseph to his bedside and gives him instructions for his bones to be buried in his tomb of his ancestors (Machpelah). “Please do not bury me in Egypt,” he instructs Joseph. And then Jacob summons his sons, one by one, and he gives each of them his final words to them. And then he died. Some of our burial customs to this day are mentioned – a eulogy is given, a mourning period of seven days – shiva is mentioned. And his sons did exactly as he had asked of them – he was buried in the Cave of Machpelah.
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