After the great trauma of the sale of Joseph and the family’s reunification in Egypt, I always wonder whether the family of Jacob lived in a state of joyous harmony or in a tense but distant togetherness. Whichever option is true, the scene in which all 12 sons stand around Jacob’s deathbed receiving his final blessings is a remarkable one for the book of Bereshit/Genesis; the family has remained intact! Neither Abraham nor Isaac had the privilege of seeing all their sons within the family tradition, and now all of Jacob’s sons form the foundational structure, the paradigmatic architecture of the Jewish people – the 12 tribes. How was this unity achieved?
Click here to read more from this week’s Parsha Discussion by Rabbi Alex Israel on Vayehi: Holding the Tribe(s) Together.
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Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.