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VayechiRead / Listen to Portion
Some cynics say that religion is a crutch for people who fear death. That may sometimes be the case, but it certainly does not apply to those who study Torah. The Torah does not say much about life after death. It's really not a book about how to go to heaven or what happens after we die.
Jacob compared the future victory and ascension of Judah to a lion resting after a kill. He compared Judah’s enemies to the lion’s slain prey. A parallel prophecy in the Torah says the lion “will not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain” (Numbers 23:24).
We should not consider our wait for Messiah as a passive waiting, as if we were simply passing time at the bus stop while waiting for the bus to arrive. We ache for His coming and His appearing. Maimonides says that a person who does not believe in Messiah and await His coming denies the Torah.
In Jewish families, on Friday nights, while the family is gathering around the Sabbath table, the father lays his hands on his children and blesses them. To his sons he says, "May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh." To his daughters he says, "May God make you like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah."
As Jacob looked into the future to bless his sons regarding their tribal destinies, he was seeking the Messiah and the age of redemption, as he says, “For Your salvation [yeshua] I wait, O LORD” (Genesis 49:18). Though he poured...