Friday, 17 December 2021
It's A Matter Of Life And Death!
The Torah portion this week is titled "VaYechi." This is the first Hebrew word of Genesis 47:28, but it sounds like something bad tasting. It means "and he lived." Genesis 47:28 Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years, so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years. With a title like that, about living, you might expect a Torah portion about life. Oops! It's a portion about death. First Jacob dies and then the portion ends with the death of Joseph.
The rabbis chose the Haftarah reading (1 Kings 2:1-12) to match the Torah portion because it too speaks of death, the death of King David. The modern Messianic leaders chose 1 Peter 1:1-9 to match because it also speaks of death, but in a new way. In the New Covenant, death is not an end, but a beginning to resurrected life. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! In His great mercy He caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua from the dead.
There is something special in this short and final Torah portion of Genesis on which I would like to comment. Jacob's blessing upon Judah. Jacob has been blessing his sons in the order of their births. These have not been the flowery speech of all is good and fine.
For the most part, Jacob's sons have lived as criminals. Reuben was sexually abusive. Simeon and Levi were guilty of murder. Then Jacob says this about Judah, his fourth born son.
Genesis 49:8-12 Judah, so you are - your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies' neck. Your father's sons will bow down to you. A lion's cub is Judah - from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness - who would rouse him? The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe. His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.
I want to write more about this in the future. It will require much "unpacking" which I can't do right now. Verse 10 though doesn't need much unpacking at all. Yet, for the most part, Jewish leaders have missed it. Everyone knows it speaks of Messiah. The "scepter" is the symbol of rulership. There is One coming, "He to Whom it belongs." How did they miss it?
They were expecting "Mashiach Ben David," the reigning King and they got "Mashiach Ben Yoseph," the suffering servant. He didn't ride into Jerusalem on a white horse, but on a lowly donkey, just as prophesied ... Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, a righteous one bringing salvation. He is lowly, riding on a donkey - on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The rabbis want us to believe Yeshua fulfilled Scripture as the result of a great conspiracy theory. Such great faith, and wasted on thinking Yeshua is lying rather than just believing He is Who He says He is. It takes me back to the 3rd and 4th cups of the Passover Seder. The 3rd cup is the cup of salvation (the first coming) and the 4th cup is the cup of victory (the second coming). Do you see the connection? Okay, one last comment from the prophesy over Judah. "Washed in the blood." Such a great blessing.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,