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What's Happening in West Orange Synagogues

This week's focus returns to Congregation Ohr Torah

In this weeks, Parsha Vayechi, Yaakov speaks to his sons before his death. The Torah introduces this by saying (Genesis 49:2)  הִקָּבְצוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ, בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב; וְשִׁמְעוּ, אֶל-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲבִיכֶם. 

Which can be translated as “Gather together and hearken, sons of Jacob; and hearken to Israel your father.”

The repeated term “hearken” implies not only blessing but as Rabbi Avigdor Miller points out it implies admonishment to learn and benefit from the teaching and rebuke.

One example of this is Shimon and Levi were severely rebuked here for their wrathfulness.

Later on in the Torah we see that Levi “hearkened” to this rebuke. At the time of the Golden Calf when Moshe proclaimed “Who is for Hashem, to me! And all the sons of Levi gathered to him” (Shemot 32:26).

It was due to this that G-d ended up making a special covenant with the sons of Levi as we read in the Torah (Deut 10:8) “At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD.”

This came about because Levi was not insulted or turned off by the rebuke but instead he internalized it and hearkened to the message.

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