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KMTT - the Torah Podcast

Dec 28, 2023

Vayechi | "My Father's Blessings Increased": Birkat Yosef and Birkat Yehuda, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom

What did Yaakov mean when he said "The blessings of your father surged higher than the blessings of my parents..." (49:15 - if that's what הורי means...)

The penultimate scene in Sefer Bereishit, undoubtedly one of the most dramatic and impactful to the future nation is the gathering of Yaakov's sons around his bed as he blesses each of them and alerts them as to what will befall them "at the end of days". Notably, nearly all of the brothers are given short (1-2 verse) blessings which are singular in focus. Yehuda and Yosef, however, are given much lengthier (5 verses each) blessings, each oriented to a range of blessings and roles. A careful look at these two heptads, which at first blush seem to be of different aims, proves that they not only share significant focal points, but that both of them seem to be anchored in the blessings that Yaakov himself received from Yitzchak. We explore the entire "blessing-scene" with an eye towards linking these two brothers' ברכות to the ברכות that Yaakov himself was granted.

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