Jacob and his entire family are now in Goshen, and Jacob lived there for another 17 years. Joseph is told that his father is ill and he brings his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to Jacob so that they can be blessed by him.
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Jacob makes Joseph swear to bury him with his fathers, and tells Joseph that he (Jacob) is adopting Joseph’s sons as tribes of Israel under Joseph’s inheritance. After this, Jacob blesses the sons of Joseph and places the younger over the elder (just as had happened with him and his brother, Esau.) After this, he blesses all his sons (although some of what he said doesn’t sound much like a blessing) and dies.
Joseph tells his brothers, who were worried that with Jacob dead Joseph may still yet take vengeance on them, that what they designed for evil God turned into good, saving their lives and many others, so he will always take care of them.
The parashah ends, as does this first book of the Torah, with Joseph’s death.
And as we come to the end of a book of the Torah, we recite this saying:
Chazak! Chazak! V’nit Chazek!
(Strong, Strong, and let us be strengthened)
When Jacob is blessing his sons, part of the blessing for Judah says (Genesis 49:10):
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, as long as men come to Shiloh; And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.
This verse has been considered for many centuries to mean that Judah will be in charge of the other tribes until such time as Shiloh comes, with “Shiloh” meaning the Messiah. This is a messianic interpretation that has been pretty much universally accepted by Christians and Messianic Jews, and pretty much universally rejected by mainstream Judaism.
I often use the 1965 Soncino edition of the Chumash, with commentary by Dr. J. H. Hertz, C.H. (the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire) as reference material for these messages. His insight and understanding of the Jewish mindset, as well as his scholarly knowledge of the writings of many other Jewish scholars, has been exceptionally helpful in my understanding of the text of the Torah and its meaning.
However, when it comes to messianic interpretations used by Christianity, he was just as prejudiced against Christianity as any other Jew I ever knew while I was growing up in a Reform Jewish household, or have met during my lifetime.
Let me show you what I mean: here are some excerpts from his notes on the Book of Genesis.
Regarding the use of Shiloh as the Messiah:
Despite the fact that nowhere in scripture is that term applied to the Messiah, Christian theologians assume that Shiloh is a name of the founder of Christianity. In this sense, ‘Till Shiloh come’ is a favorite text of Christian missionaries in attempting to convert illiterate Jews or those ignorant of scripture.
As he further discusses Christian misinterpretation of the Tanakh for missionary use, he brings up Isaiah 53, and with reference to that says:
For eighteen hundred years Christian theologians have passionately maintained that it is a prophetic anticipation of the founder of their faith.
In his commentary on Jacob’s blessings, Dr. Hertz said that when Jacob referenced Reuben’s sleeping with one of Jacob’s concubines (Genesis 44:4), he suddenly started to talk in the third person instead of the second person because the event was so loathful to him. Yet, when Dr. Hertz refers to Yeshua, he doesn’t even use his proper name.
How hateful must someone be to not even use the name “Jesus Christ” when talking about him?
And did you notice that he refers to Yeshua as the “founder of their faith”? How could such an intelligent and knowledgeable scholar of the Bible not know that Christianity, as it existed in his time, was nothing like what Yeshua taught, but (in truth) the real founder of that religion was Constantine?
The answer is simple: he was never taught the truth about Yeshua because the bigotry between Christians and Jews was so solidified that no one cared about the truth, and believed only what they had been taught growing up.
I was taught the same thing that Dr. Hertz was taught, that Jesus Christ was a Jew who rebelled against Judaism and created his own religion, which hated and killed Jews. Actually, that reference would be a lot more accurate if we applied it to Martin Luther, but it is not at all accurate or true with regard to Yeshua.
I hate the hatred between Jews and Christians that has been developed over the Millennia, and as much as I try to expose the truth in this ministry of mine, it will never have an impact except, God willing, on a few people who may be exposed to my messages and books. And that is fine with me; in fact, if I can help just one Jewish person (Gentiles would be OK, too) during my entire life to come to know the truth about Yeshua, then it will be worthwhile work.
The animosity between Christians and Jews is two-sided, and built upon ignorance, which is the foundation stone of bigotry; I am sorry to say it will not be alleviated (apologies to Dr. Hertz) until Shiloh comes, again. Once Messiah Yeshua returns in the Acharit HaYamim (End Days) and God’s plan will come to completion, then everyone will know the truth about who the Messiah really is, about who really created Christianity and that God really does exist and his word is absolutely truthful and trustworthy.
So, until that time arrives (which I believe is almost upon us), we will have to deal with defeating this age-old misunderstanding one person at a time.
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Until next time, Shabbat Shalom and Baruch HaShem!