Saturday, December 29, 2007

DVAR TORAH S2: Vayechi (Password: Swordfish which has not yet shed its scales)

I missed out on writing last week because I had to finish papers and then went on vacation but now am back so I will attempt to write last week's and this week's in tandem.
I mentioned, in passing, last year about "pakod yifkod" (One translation "He [God] will surely remember you"). This is a phrase recited twice by Joseph to his brothers. Its meaning is shrouded in mystery, but it is considered, according to midrash, a password. Joseph leaves his brothers and the 70 Children of Israel assembled a cryptic message. He does not notify them that they will be enslaved in Egypt, but he does say that God will remember them (in the same word used that God remembered Sarah and the promise that he would grant her a child).

When Moses came some two hundred years later to free the people they didn't believe him. God spoke to him on the mountain saying "Pakod pakadti" ("I surely have remembered") and he forwards these words onto the elders of Israel. Serach, the daughter of Asher, the only survivor of the 70 named people who went down with Jacob to Egypt centuries later (and one of the few named women in genealogies in the Bible), who had heard Joseph in his original speech, confirmed that Moses was the destined deliverer.

Two words and the holiest man of all time was established among his people.

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