While 'Vayechi' is predominantly about Jacob blessing his grandsons (what about his grandaughters?), the relative reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers (what role do the wives and daughters play in this?), and the death of Joseph in which the request is made for his bones to be brought back to the promised land. (interesting to explore his mother Rachel's burial on the roadside and later removal to a tomb in Bethlehem). Several questions arise as we move from the book of creation to the book of 'going out,' on the heels of this parsha. One of them involves the power and legacy of blessing that we offer to our children, our loved ones, beloved neighbors, holy strangers. Each shabbas after we welcome in the angels, we have the opportunity to bless each other. It is at this time we are reminded of how fragile all life is and how even our thoughts, intentions, goodwill for others can potentially affect the energetic backdrops of each others' lives. This parsha involves two deaths and hints at possibilities of resurrection, afterlife, and immortality of the soul. While eastern traditions have complex teachings about the laws of Karma, Judaism hints of a similar understanding in the context of how much we give of ourselves now indeed affects how Divine blessings manifest. During this year of Shmitta, it is an instructive exercise to look back seven years in our lives and witness how our intentions then may have helped shape the reality we are living today.
As we enter this next book and the impending fullness of tomorrow's moon approaches, I revisit seeds planted previously this past Rosh Chodesh. I noticed in this two week time period that intentions to slow down and be more fully present in relationships, required me to step out of task oriented duties a bit more to fully crystallize intentions and blessings for those I am with. This past thursday was the 10th of Tevet in which we fast to honor the destruction of the first temple 422 BCE. As I glimpse old worlds crumbling before the modern world and elders struggling to pass on teachings to younger ones who are feeling the pulls of modernity, I bless us to recognize what holy spaces we have inherited to tend and to tap into the support systems there for us to remain loyal to them so that we can more fully allow for Divine support and the spreading of blessings throughout the web. Perhaps as we all do this from our respective hearths, we withdraw our vibrant lifeforce energy from life-destroying systems and instead plug in to the life-affirming networks which ultimately are the backdrop of our journeys.