The Torah Revealed: Talmudic Masters Unveil the Secrets of the Bible

By Avraham Yaakov Finkel | Go to book overview

12
Torah Portion
Vayechi
Genesis 47:28–50:26

JACOB ON HIS DEATHBED

(47:31) “Swear to me, ” said Jacob. Joseph made an oath to him, then Israel bowed toward the head of the bed.


The Talmud Teaches

Israel bowed R. Binyamin b. Yefet said: This is what people mean with the adage: When the fox has his hour, bow to him (Megillah 16b).

NOTE: When Joseph—who is just a fox compared to Jacob—is the ruler, even the mighty lion—Jacob—pays homage to him.

(48:1) A short time after this, Joseph was told that his father was sick. So Joseph went to his father, taking his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, along with him.


The Talmud Teaches

His father was sick It was taught: Until Jacob's days, nobody became sick before he died; people died suddenly, without warning. Then Jacob prayed that a person should become sick before he died, so that he could convey his last wishes to his children, and sickness came into being (Bava Metzia 87a).

(48:7) Jacob said to Joseph, “When I was coming from Padan, your mother Rachel died on me. It was in Canaan, a

-86-

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