As we come to the end of Sefer Bereshit, the Book of Genesis, we read Ya’akov’s farewell to his sons. Famously, at the end of his life, he says: “Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come” (Genesis 49:1). And then, he proceeds to…say something very different to them–addressing each son with either condemnation or acclamation. But it is not an exercise in fortune-telling.
Rashi, equally famously, comments on this verse that “he sought to reveal the end to them, but God’s presence departed from him…”
Ya’akov proposes to describe to his sons aharit hayamim, what will be at the end. On Shabbat afternoon, we will learn a mystical explanation of this from the Hasidic master Ze’ev Wolf of Zhytomir. In the meantime, let’s embrace the aharit hayamim, the closing days, of the secular year 2023. While this year has been bleak for the Jewish People, especially the last three months, we have a chance to close out the year in song. I’ll again be leading a singing warmup to Shabbat morning services at 9 AM, using the melodies in the links below.
Shabbat Shalom and Shalom al Yisrael,
Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 4:17 PM
Torah Reading: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Haftarah: I Kings 2:1-12