A Bisl Torah

You Shall Be a Blessing

The Torah introduces what looks like a dying father’s parting words to his beloved children. Jacob gathers his offspring and begins to offer individual prophecies, what is later described as blessings. However, our contemporary understanding of blessings clouds our ability to comprehend the scene. Usually, when we bless someone, our words include wishes for good health, the ability to experience joy, and a capacity to garner inner strength. Other may bless with long age, the opportunity to see peace, and potential to find renewed faith. But Jacob’s words to his first three children are biting, seemingly angry and filled with contempt. Blessing in the ways we have grown accustomed? Certainly not. Instead, Jacob’s reproach seems self-serving. A shaming critique so that he is able to leave this world without regret.

And yet, is this exactly what the Torah is trying to teach? Not to wait until our deathbed to have our hardest and most anguishing conversations? At a recent doctor’s appointment, I was surprised when the receptionist asked if I had a medical directive. My appointment was routine. And yet, part of the pre-exam was asking about my pre-planning, ensuring that even during the seemingly mundane moments of life, we should be setting the stage with our wishes, desires, hopes and dreams. Not deferring until we take our final breaths to engage in the most vital of heart-to-hearts.

What needs to be said to a loved one or friend that has since, gone unsaid? What advice, guidance, or words of wisdom do you need to get off your chest? Words that will otherwise eat away unless offered during your lifetime? What should be said now instead of in rushed whispers, when it might end up being too late? What can be said so that our loved ones have a chance to respond?

The name of the parsha is Vayechi. Translated, “And Jacob lived.” Our words live on for generations to come. May our words be shared in a way that are considered blessings. Timely pearls that allow for future memories of appreciation, gratitude, and love.

Let us all be a blessing. Amen.

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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