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Parashat Vayehi – December 14, 2013

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Candle lighting time for Friday, December 13, 2013, 4:35 p.m.

 Parashat Vayehi

11 Tevet, 5774/December 14, 2013
Triennial Cycle Year I: Genesis 47:28-48:22
Humash Etz Hayim, page 293
Haftarah,  1 Kings 2:1-12, page 312

  1. (47:28-31) Jacob senses that his death is approaching. He asks Joseph to swear that he will not bury him in Egypt, but will return him to the ancestral burial place at the cave of Machpelah in the land of Canaan.
  2. (48:1-9) Joseph brings his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to Jacob to be blessed. Jacob says that they will be like Reuben and Simon, i.e., equal in status to any of his sons.
  3. (48:10-22) Jacob blesses Ephraim, Manasseh, and Joseph, predicting that younger son Ephraim would be mightier than firstborn Manasseh.


Praying for Healing
By Rabbi Pressman

Some time afterward, Joseph was told, “Behold (hineih) your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. (Genesis 48:1-2)

Until the time of Jacob, there was no illness [preceding death]. Jacob came and prayed for mercy, and there was illness, as it is said, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” (Talmud Bava Metzia 87a)

Rashi: So that a person would become ill before his death and be able to instruct his family (i.e., write his last will and testament).

Rashi on a parallel passage in Sanhedrin 107b: so that there would be enough time for all his children to come from where they were to be with him at the time of death.

From the creation of the Heaven and earth until Jacob’s time, no person had ever become ill. Rather, they would remain fit and well until the time they were meant to die. Then, wherever they would happen to be, they would sneeze, and their souls would depart through their nostrils. But then Jacob prayed, seeking mercy from God, asking that He not take his soul until he had an opportunity to charge his sons and his household. Therefore a person is duty bound to say “To Life!” after he sneezes to thank God that this “death” was turned to light. (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer Chapter 52). [In later Jewish practice, the custom was for others to say marpeh (healing), asuta (Aramaic—healing), gezundheit (Yiddish—health), or la-b’riyut (Hebrew—to health).]

Prayer is an intimate activity. But blessing of another is grounded in relationship. Prayer’s roots are in intimacy but its branches are in community. The traditional forms of the mi sheberakh prayer emphasize the importance of this connection by ending with phrases such as “Together with all Israel…,” or “Among the other sick of Israel.  A mi sheberakh, elaborated to its fullest encourages the support and energy of the entire community. It is a moment in which a congregation can rally around an individual and feel their togetherness in peace. It provides a time to appreciate the unique contribution of each person and to articulate how each of our contributions is necessary for the wholeness of Israel, and part of the wholeness of the entire realm of creation. (Rabbi Michael Paley)

When the Torah is out of the Ark, visible to us and within our reach, we feel as if the Giver of the Torah is also within our midst. At such a moment, we are free to express our personal needs and most sincere feelings. We can celebrate our joys and give expression to our fears. In the presence of the Torah, our most sacred object, we call upon God, who blessed our ancestors, to bless us, those we love, those who are members of our community, and those in need of healing and help. We identify ourselves with others and think of them before ourselves. Prayer is not some magic formula that will automatically bring healing and blessing, but in this way we express our feelings and hope that the Divine will enter our lives and the lives of those for whom we pray. When we connect ourselves to the Source of Blessing, our lives are lifted from despair toward hope. We strengthen our resolve to be partners of the Almighty in bringing hope, healing, and help to those in need and in bringing blessing and happiness to those we encounter. (From Siddur Or Hadash, edited by Ruven Hammer)


NOTE: Special Minyan schedule

Mitzvah a Month

Make or Serve Christmas Eve Dinner for the Homeless

Embrace -A-Family

Balk Family Memorial Camp Scholarship

Hadashot Religious School

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Friday, December 13: Shabbat with A Russian Flair – 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 14: Ruah Rally – Noon – 12:15p.m.

Saturday, December 14: Book Discussion Group – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 15: Annual Meeting – 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 17: The Eyes of Abel: A Though-Provoking Look at Middle East Conflict – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 21: Mussar Matters: Building Character and Self-Mastery Through Jewish Texts – after lunch, approximately 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 5: Threads of Tradition – 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 15: CBD Winter Blood Drive – 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays beginning January 16: Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 18: Communal Tu B’Shevat Seders – after services

Sunday, January 19: Tikkun Olameinu – CBD Repairs the World – 9:30 a.m

Sunday, January 19: Upsherin (the cutting of hair) for Eli Ohriner – 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


Sunday, December 15: Open House at Kehillah Jewish High School – 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Monday, December 16: Shmooze with Author Jason K. Friedman – more information – 7:00pm

January 6-10 and January 12: South Bay Teen Idol Auditions

Sunday, January 26: Jewbilee – 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.