Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Vayechi

E06FIM43Bhr This week is the the conclusion of the book of Genesis, the blessings for the children of Israel, the death of Jacob and the death of Joseph. You can read about here: Vayechi – Genesis 47:28 – 50:26

You may decide to read the whole portion in one sitting or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 47:28-48:9 (13 p’sukim)

2: 48:10-16 (7 p’sukim)

3: 48:17-22 (6 p’sukim)

4: 49:1-18 (18 p’sukim)

5: 49:19-26 (8 p’sukim)

6: 49:27-50:20 (27 p’sukim)

7: 50:21-26 (6 p’sukim)

The reading for the haftarah, if you decide to read it in addition to the Torah portion, is I Kings 2:1 – 2:12.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Bereishit by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we will be focusing on the middah (virtue) of lashon hara which can be translated as evil tongue, or gossip. Lashon hara is speaking your own perceptions about another individual to someone else; it is projecting your own biases and/or grievances about an individual onto another individual’s perception, thereby muddying the waters.
For example, if I spoke about how wonderful a person is, how helpful they are, how caring they are to you, and then you met that person, you would automatically put on that person to be caring and helpful, and if they did not live up to your standard of these aspects, then you might begin to have negative feelings toward them. So, before we speak we need to be sure that we are discerning their character properly. IF, for any reason, we cannot do this, we should be silent and keep characterizations to a minimum.

This week we will be refraining from gossip and will focus instead on judging favorably. Before speaking ill of someone else or speaking a word of criticism, let’s practice empathy and generosity of spirit toward that individual.

Get a new 4×6 card out and write Lashon Hara (Gossip) at the top.

Underneath that, list the suggested practices:

  • Practice not speaking about another person by name and limit the information you share with another individual.
  • Ask yourself, is what I am about to say, critical and judgmental?
  • Will my words affect another person’s thoughts about another individual?
  • Practice being accurate, balanced in your view of a person, not too favorable and/or not too negative.

Put the card in a prominent place, so you might be able to refer to it often throughout the day.

You might also enjoy this table discussion on Lashon hara from Rabbinit Yehoshua.

and Matthew Vander Els gives a really good acronym to help discern whether we should open our mouths or hold our tongues:

Blessings and Shalom,

S~