Torah Portion

Vayechi

ויחי

Genesis 47:28-50:26
First Kings 2:1-12

“He Tethers His Donkey to the Vine” - Judah Exported Soreqa Wine

“He Tethers His Donkey to the Vine” - Judah Exported Soreqa Wine

Fine wine was appreciated in the ancient world just as it is today. Jacob, on his deathbed, blesses Judah that he will profit from the lucrative wine trade.

Dr.
Tina M. Sherman
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King David’s Troubling Deathbed Instructions

King David’s Troubling Deathbed Instructions

Before his death, David commands Solomon to kill two men: Joab, his loyal general, and Shimei, his enemy, whom he had sworn not to kill.

Dr.
David Glatt-Gilad
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Jacob’s Funeral and Esau’s Last Stand

Jacob’s Funeral and Esau’s Last Stand

Esau’s attempt to block Jacob’s burial at the Cave of Machpelah ends in his gruesome death.

Dr.
Malka Z. Simkovich
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Did Israel Always Have Twelve Tribes?

Did Israel Always Have Twelve Tribes?

The Bible presents Israel as having twelve tribes from both northern Israel and southern Judah. In older northern lists, however, the southern tribes do not appear, and the full list seems to have developed in Judah, after the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the idea that the tribes are descended from Jacob developed even later.

Dr.
Andrew Tobolowsky
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Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

An enormous ancient altar from the early twelfth-century B.C.E., uncovered at the site of El-Burnat, sheds light on the biblical account of Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal as well as on the famous story of Jacob crossing his arms to bless Ephraim over Manasseh with the birthright.

Zvi Koenigsberg
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When Moses Placed Ephraim Before Manasseh

When Moses Placed Ephraim Before Manasseh

R. Judah HeḤasid late 12th cent. asserts that the subject of “he placed Ephraim before Manasseh,” and “I have given you [=Joseph] an extra portion…,” in Jacob’s blessing is not Jacob but Moses, and is referring to when Moses put Ephraim before Manasseh in the tribal listings in Num 2:18-21. This leads him  R. Judah HeḤasid  to conclude that Moses could not be the author of v. 20b.

Prof.
Baruch J. Schwartz
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Is the Torah a Pentateuch or Hexateuch?

Is the Torah a Pentateuch or Hexateuch?

Does the Torah end with Deuteronomy or Joshua? The answer depends on whether we view the Torah as a law collection or as a narrative about a promise fulfilled.

Prof.
Marc Zvi Brettler
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The Color of Judah’s Eyes

The Color of Judah’s Eyes

חכלילי עינים מיין (Genesis 49:12) is an obscure phrase. In contrast to the standard interpretation, Nachmanides’ offered an original interpretation, which finds support in modern linguistic analysis and an archaeological find.

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
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Why Is the Torah Divided into Five Books?

Why Is the Torah Divided into Five Books?

The division of the Torah into five books is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, yet by the early first millennium C.E., the Torah became known by the Greek name Pentateuch, literally “five scrolls.” When and why was this division created?

Dr.
Elaine Goodfriend
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Our Mummified Patriarchs: Jacob and Joseph

Our Mummified Patriarchs: Jacob and Joseph

How was ancient mummification carried out? What does it say about Jacob and Joseph that their remains were handled in accordance with Egyptian burial practices?

Dr.
Rachel P. Kreiter
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Vayechi

ויחי

Genesis 47:28-50:26

וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר...

בראשית מח:יד

But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger...

Gen 48:14

Genesis

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