Bits of Torah Truths, Parashat Vayechi, Our Strength is in Him

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In this weeks reading from Parashat Vayechi (Bereshit / Genesis 47:28-50:26) is the final chapters of the book of Genesis.  The opening verses tell us that Jacob (Israel) lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years and the total length of his life were 147 years.  Before Jacob died he asked ל   וְשָׁכַבְתִּי עִם-אֲבֹתַי וּנְשָֹאתַנִי מִמִּצְרַיִם וּקְבַרְתַּנִי בִּקְבֻרָתָם וַיֹּאמַר אָנֹכִי אֶעְשֶֹה כִדְבָרֶךָ: לא   וַיֹּאמֶר הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי וַיִּשָּׁבַע לוֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְֹרָאֵל עַל-רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה:47:30 but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ (NASB)  Jacob blesses Joseph’s two sons Manasseh and Ephraim (48:1-2).  Jacob tells Joseph that his two sons will be his (48:5) and declares that Joseph’s descendents after him shall be called after their names (48:6).  Jacob then proceeds to make statements against his sons on account of what they had done while in the land of Canaan (49:1-26).  In the midst of Jacob’s blessing over his sons he provides us with a Messianic expectation in his statements to Judah לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים  49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASB)  Jacob dies and Joseph and his brothers bury him in the land of Canaan (49:29-50:14).  Joseph’s brothers seek forgiveness and ask for mercy.  Joseph assures them that they need not fear.  The final verses of Genesis tell of the death of Joseph, he lived 110 years and then died, was embalmed and placed in an coffin (50:15-26).

כתבי הקודש / The Holy Scriptures

ספר בראשית פרק מח
יג   וַיִּקַּח יוֹסֵף אֶת-שְׁנֵיהֶם אֶת-אֶפְרַיִם בִּימִינוֹ מִשְּׂמֹאל יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאֶת-מְנַשֶּׁה בִשְֹמֹאלוֹ מִימִין יִשְֹרָאֵל וַיַּגֵּשׁ אֵלָיו: יד   וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶת-יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל-רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר וְאֶת-שְֹמֹאלוֹ עַל-רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה שִֹכֵּל אֶת-יָדָיו כִּי מְנַשֶּׁה הַבְּכוֹר: טו   וַיְבָרֶךְ אֶת-יוֹסֵף וַיֹּאמַר הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלְּכוּ אֲבֹתַי לְפָנָיו אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק הָאֱלֹהִים הָרֹעֶה אֹתִי מֵעוֹדִי עַד-הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: טז   הַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל-רָע יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-הַנְּעָרִים וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי וְשֵׁם אֲבֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ:

Bereshit / Genesis 48:13-16
48:13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.  48:14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.  48:15 He blessed Joseph, and said, ‘The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 48:16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’ (NASB)

The Scripture from this week’s reading says יד   וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶת-יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל-רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר וְאֶת-שְֹמֹאלוֹ עַל-רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה שִֹכֵּל אֶת-יָדָיו כִּי מְנַשֶּׁה הַבְּכוֹר: 48:14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn. (NASB)  While blessing Joseph’s sons, Jacob realized that God does not always choose the first born but in many instances He chooses the unusual thing to complete His will.  For example in the Bible God uses common people to do his work.  God often chooses the weak to do His will, 1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, (NASB)  David says in Tehillim / Psalms 8ג   מִפִּי עוֹלְלִים | וְיֹנְקִים יִסַּדְתָּ עֹז לְמַעַן צוֹרְרֶיךָ לְהַשְׁבִּית אוֹיֵב וּמִתְנַקֵּם:  8:2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. (NASB)  The Lord establishes his strength in the mouth of “infants” and “nursing babes.”  According to the Apostolic Gospels, in order for us to be strong and mighty in the Lord, we are to become as infants (Matthew 18:3).  Weakness in our culture is generally viewed as despicable.  As a culture, we place value on strength, independence, and achievement.  However, the Lord said their is strength in weakness.  The reason being is to illustrate our total dependence upon the Lord for all of our needs.  As you become more mature in the Lord (in Christ, in the Messiah) and grow in your relationship with Him, is your dependence upon the Lord increased or decreased?  Truely our strength is in Him alone!  BTT_Parashat Vayechi-2012

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!