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Thursday, Tevet 12, 5783 (Hakhel Year) / January 5, 2023


In this week’s Parsha, Vayechi, the last Parsha in the book of Genesis, we read about Yaakov’s (Jacob) blessings to his children and grandchildren, before his passing. 


Yaakov requests that he not be buried in Egypt.  He makes his son, Yosef (Joseph), swear that he will bury him in the Me’arat Hamachpeila, in Hebron, alongside his parents, grandparents and his wife Leah. The Torah describes the great honor and royalty extended to Yaakov after his passing.


The Parsha ends with the passing of Joseph. Like his father, Joseph also requested to be buried in Israel.  But contrary to his father, whose body was carried back to Israel soon after his death, Joseph's body was in Egypt until the Exodus when the entire Jewish people left Egypt. Joseph was later buried in Sh’chem.


Joseph was sold into slavery and brought to Egypt, the most immoral culture of its time. He spent many years exposed to the Egyptian culture.  He spent years in an Egyptian prison.  Yet he stayed true to his religion and moral values. He ultimately became the ruler of the land of Egypt and saved the people of starvation.  The Torah describes his life story in great length and in great detail. 


Q.   At what age did Yaakov pass away?  At what age did Yosef pass away?


A.   Yaakov was 147.  Yosef was 110.


Q.   Which of the patriarchs lived the shortest?


A.    Yaakov.  Abraham lived to 175.  Yitzchak (Isaac) to 180.  Yaakov passed away at the age of 147.


Q.   Why wasn’t Yosef buried in Israel right after his passing just like Yaakov?


A.   Yosef was the ruler of Egypt, thus he had the power to fulfill his father’s wish.  But when Yosef died, Pharaoh didn’t allow his body to be taken out of Egypt.


Q.   How many years passed from Yaakov's coming to Egypt until the Exodus?


A.   Two hundred and ten years.


Q.   How many years from Joseph's death to the Exodus?


A.   One hundred and thirty-nine years.


Q.   Of Yaakov’s children, who lived the longest and who lived the shortest?


A.    Yaakov’s third son, Levi, lived the longest, 137 years.  Yosef, lived the shortest.  He passed away, before his brothers, at the age of 110 years.  Joseph's life span was the shortest of all his brothers, yet he overcame many adversities and achieved much more during his lifetime. One's life is not necessarily measured in the number of years, but rather in quality and their achievements during their lifetime.