22 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Vay’chi 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vay’chi which brings to a close the reading of the book of B’reishit, the book of Genesis. Despite the fact that the word “vay’chi” means “and he lived”, referring to the number of years that Jacob lived in Egypt, this week’s Torah portion is much more about bringing to a close the story of Jacob’s life as opposed to the time he spent living it. What should be noted about his final days is that Jacob made his best effort to use those moments to offer words of blessing (some of it was nicer blessing than others, but blessing nonetheless). It is not lost on me that we close the book of B’reishit as we also close the book on 2015. Given all that has happened in our world this past year it would be very easy to slam the door on it and finish it off with no final words whatsoever. But just as Jacob did all those years ago with his own life, I hope we can find a way to close 2015 with words of blessing which will hopefully lead us into a wonderful and exciting 2016.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik