You wonder, especially during Covid times, when will it happen that my time is up? What will it look like? What will it feel like? What will I be able to share and say? Will I have time to bless my family with blessed goodbyes? So many questions have crossed my mind, time and time again, especially since I know several people who have succumbed to the illness.
My planned speech is unnervingly similar to what Jacob opened with and continued on to share…
וַיִּקְרְב֣וּ יְמֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֘ל לָמוּת֒ וַיִּקְרָ֣א ׀ לִבְנ֣וֹ לְיוֹסֵ֗ף וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ שִֽׂים־נָ֥א יָדְךָ֖ תַּ֣חַת יְרֵכִ֑י וְעָשִׂ֤יתָ עִמָּדִי֙ חֶ֣סֶד וֶאֱמֶ֔ת אַל־נָ֥א תִקְבְּרֵ֖נִי בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃
And when the time approached for Israel to die, he summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “Do me this favor, place your hand under my thigh as a pledge of your steadfast loyalty: please do not bury me in Egypt.
I will call my children, their spouses and future grandchildren to my bedside and make them promise me...Please do not bury me in, the US.
וְשָֽׁכַבְתִּי֙ עִם־אֲבֹתַ֔י וּנְשָׂאתַ֙נִי֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם וּקְבַרְתַּ֖נִי בִּקְבֻרָתָ֑ם וַיֹּאמַ֕ר אָנֹכִ֖י אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה כִדְבָרֶֽךָ׃
When I lie down with my fathers, take me up from Egypt and bury me in their burial-place.” He replied, “I will do as you have spoken.”
When I lie down with my father and mother, take me up from the US and bury me in Israel, in my designated burial-place. and they replied, “We will do as you have spoken.”
וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִשָּֽׁבְעָה֙ לִ֔י וַיִּשָּׁבַ֖ע ל֑וֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ הַמִּטָּֽה׃ (פ)
And he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. Then Israel bowed at the head of the bed.
And I will say, “Swear to me.” and they will swear to me. Then I can let go at the head of my bed.
וַיְהִ֗י אַחֲרֵי֙ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְיוֹסֵ֔ף הִנֵּ֥ה אָבִ֖יךָ חֹלֶ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֤י בָנָיו֙ עִמּ֔וֹ אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה וְאֶת־אֶפְרָֽיִם׃
Some time afterward, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Some time afterward, my children were told, “Your mother is ill.”
וַיַּגֵּ֣ד לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֛ה בִּנְךָ֥ יוֹסֵ֖ף בָּ֣א אֵלֶ֑יךָ וַיִּתְחַזֵּק֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־הַמִּטָּֽה׃
When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.
When I “was” told, “Your children have come to see you, ” I summoned my strength and sat up in bed.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף אֵ֥ל שַׁדַּ֛י נִרְאָֽה־אֵלַ֥י בְּל֖וּז בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיְבָ֖רֶךְ אֹתִֽי׃
And Jacob said to Joseph, “El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and He blessed me,
And I said to my children, “God appeared to me at Lindenbaum’s 5th grade class, in the land of Chicago, and she blessed me with Gd’s smile, shining down upon me.
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלַ֗י הִנְנִ֤י מַפְרְךָ֙ וְהִרְבִּיתִ֔ךָ וּנְתַתִּ֖יךָ לִקְהַ֣ל עַמִּ֑ים וְנָ֨תַתִּ֜י אֶת־הָאָ֧רֶץ הַזֹּ֛את לְזַרְעֲךָ֥ אַחֲרֶ֖יךָ אֲחֻזַּ֥ת עוֹלָֽם׃
and said to me, ‘I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a community of peoples; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession.’
and said to me, ” I will make you fertile and numerous, making you a community of peoples; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession in Bergenfield, from the US banks, and in Israel.”
וְעַתָּ֡ה שְׁנֵֽי־בָנֶיךָ֩ הַנּוֹלָדִ֨ים לְךָ֜ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֗יִם עַד־בֹּאִ֥י אֵלֶ֛יךָ מִצְרַ֖יְמָה לִי־הֵ֑ם אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וּמְנַשֶּׁ֔ה כִּרְאוּבֵ֥ן וְשִׁמְע֖וֹן יִֽהְיוּ־לִֽי׃
Now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon.
Now, your two sons, and two daughters, who were born to you in the land of Brooklyn and Bergenfield/Teaneck areas, shall me mine; Samuel and Seth, Shira, and Sarah Rose shall be mine no less than your spouses and your own children.
וּמוֹלַדְתְּךָ֛ אֲשֶׁר־הוֹלַ֥דְתָּ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֖ם לְךָ֣ יִהְי֑וּ עַ֣ל שֵׁ֧ם אֲחֵיהֶ֛ם יִקָּרְא֖וּ בְּנַחֲלָתָֽם׃
But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be recorded instead of their brothers in their inheritance.
But progeny born to you after them shall be yours;they shall be recorded instead of their brothers and sisters in their inheritance.
וַאֲנִ֣י ׀ בְּבֹאִ֣י מִפַּדָּ֗ן מֵ֩תָה֩ עָלַ֨י רָחֵ֜ל בְּאֶ֤רֶץ כְּנַ֙עַן֙ בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ בְּע֥וֹד כִּבְרַת־אֶ֖רֶץ לָבֹ֣א אֶפְרָ֑תָה וָאֶקְבְּרֶ֤הָ שָּׁם֙ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אֶפְרָ֔ת הִ֖וא בֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃
I [do this because], when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, while I was journeying in the land of Canaan, when still some distance short of Ephrath; and I buried her there on the road to Ephrath”—now Bethlehem.
I [do this because], when I was returning from Brooklyn, where I had my miscarriages, to my sorrow, while I was journeying in the land of Brooklyn, when still some distance short of my way towards Bergenfield; and I buried my losses and pain along the path that led to Bergenfield.
וַיַּ֥רְא יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יוֹסֵ֑ף וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מִי־אֵֽלֶּה׃
Noticing Joseph’s sons, Israel asked, “Who are these?”
Noticing my grandchildren, and those to be born, I asked, “Who are these?”
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יוֹסֵף֙ אֶל־אָבִ֔יו בָּנַ֣י הֵ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־נָֽתַן־לִ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּזֶ֑ה וַיֹּאמַ֕ר קָֽחֶם־נָ֥א אֵלַ֖י וַאֲבָרֲכֵֽם׃
And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” “Bring them up to me,” he said, “that I may bless them.”
And my children, Sam, Shira, Seth and Sarah Rose said to me, their mother, “They are our children and future children, whom Gd has given to us here in the NJ, Penn, and Israel here.” “Bring them up to me,” I said, “that I may bless them, (that are standing here now).”
וְעֵינֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ כָּבְד֣וּ מִזֹּ֔קֶן לֹ֥א יוּכַ֖ל לִרְא֑וֹת וַיַּגֵּ֤שׁ אֹתָם֙ אֵלָ֔יו וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק לָהֶ֖ם וַיְחַבֵּ֥ק לָהֶֽם׃
Now Israel’s eyes were dim with age; he could not see. So [Joseph] brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them.
Now my eyes were dim with age; I could not see. So my children brought them close to me, and I kissed them and embraced them.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף רְאֹ֥ה פָנֶ֖יךָ לֹ֣א פִלָּ֑לְתִּי וְהִנֵּ֨ה הֶרְאָ֥ה אֹתִ֛י אֱלֹהִ֖ים גַּ֥ם אֶת־זַרְעֶֽךָ׃
And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see you again, and here God has let me see your children as well.”
And I said to my children, “I never expected to see you again, and here God has let me see your children and future children as well.”
וַיּוֹצֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֹתָ֖ם מֵעִ֣ם בִּרְכָּ֑יו וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ לְאַפָּ֖יו אָֽרְצָה׃
Joseph then removed them from his knees, and bowed low with his face to the ground.
My children then removed them from their knees, and bowed low with their faces to the ground.
וַיִּקַּ֣ח יוֹסֵף֮ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם֒ אֶת־אֶפְרַ֤יִם בִּֽימִינוֹ֙ מִשְּׂמֹ֣אל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה בִשְׂמֹאל֖וֹ מִימִ֣ין יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּגֵּ֖שׁ אֵלָֽיו׃
Joseph took the two of them, Ephraim with his right hand—to Israel’s left—and Manasseh with his left hand—to Israel’s right—and brought them close to him.
My children took half of their children, to their right hand– my left– and the other half of their children with their left hand– to my right- and brought them close to me.
וַיִּשְׁלַח֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל אֶת־יְמִינ֜וֹ וַיָּ֨שֶׁת עַל־רֹ֤אשׁ אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וְה֣וּא הַצָּעִ֔יר וְאֶת־שְׂמֹאל֖וֹ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ מְנַשֶּׁ֑ה שִׂכֵּל֙ אֶת־יָדָ֔יו כִּ֥י מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה הַבְּכֽוֹר׃
But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head—thus crossing his hands—although Manasseh was the first-born.
But I was confused or with unclear thinking or with the ability to speak clearly and precisely, as had been my mother before me, and I stretched out my right hand towards the younger children and and with my left hand upon the heads of the older children-thus crossing his hands—although those children were the first-born.
וַיְבָ֥רֶךְ אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף וַיֹּאמַ֑ר הָֽאֱלֹהִ֡ים אֲשֶׁר֩ הִתְהַלְּכ֨וּ אֲבֹתַ֤י לְפָנָיו֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֔ק הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ הָרֹעֶ֣ה אֹתִ֔י מֵעוֹדִ֖י עַד־הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃
And he blessed Joseph, saying, “The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day—
And I blessed my children saying,”“The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my parents’ and my shepherd from my birth to this day—May they continue to grow in the paths of Hashem/Gd and follow the traditions set out by my ancestors.
הַמַּלְאָךְ֩ הַגֹּאֵ֨ל אֹתִ֜י מִכָּל־רָ֗ע יְבָרֵךְ֮ אֶת־הַנְּעָרִים֒ וְיִקָּרֵ֤א בָהֶם֙ שְׁמִ֔י וְשֵׁ֥ם אֲבֹתַ֖י אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֑ק וְיִדְגּ֥וּ לָרֹ֖ב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ׃
The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— Bless the lads. In them may my name be recalled, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.”
The gdly Angel who has redeemed me from all harm– Bless these children.Bless the lads. In them may my name be recalled, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.”
וַיַּ֣רְא יוֹסֵ֗ף כִּי־יָשִׁ֨ית אָבִ֧יו יַד־יְמִינ֛וֹ עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ אֶפְרַ֖יִם וַיֵּ֣רַע בְּעֵינָ֑יו וַיִּתְמֹ֣ךְ יַד־אָבִ֗יו לְהָסִ֥יר אֹתָ֛הּ מֵעַ֥ל רֹאשׁ־אֶפְרַ֖יִם עַל־רֹ֥אשׁ מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃
When Joseph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it wrong; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s.
When my children noticed that I had been placing my right hand on the younger children heads, implying leadership of the next generation, my children thought that it was wrong; so they took hold of my right hand and removed it to move it from the younger grandchildren’s heads to the older grandchildren’s heads.
וַיֹּ֧אמֶר יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶל־אָבִ֖יו לֹא־כֵ֣ן אָבִ֑י כִּי־זֶ֣ה הַבְּכֹ֔ר שִׂ֥ים יְמִינְךָ֖ עַל־רֹאשֽׁוֹ׃
“Not so, Father,” Joseph said to his father, “for the other is the first-born; place your right hand on his head.”
“Not so, Mother,” my children said to me, “for the other (s) is the first-born; place your right hand on his (their) head s.”
וַיְמָאֵ֣ן אָבִ֗יו וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יָדַ֤עְתִּֽי בְנִי֙ יָדַ֔עְתִּי גַּם־ה֥וּא יִֽהְיֶה־לְּעָ֖ם וְגַם־ה֣וּא יִגְדָּ֑ל וְאוּלָ֗ם אָחִ֤יו הַקָּטֹן֙ יִגְדַּ֣ל מִמֶּ֔נּוּ וְזַרְע֖וֹ יִהְיֶ֥ה מְלֹֽא־הַגּוֹיִֽם׃
But his father objected, saying, “I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.”
But I objected, saying,”“I know, my children, I know. They too shall become a people, and they too shall be great. Yet the younger brother s shall be “greater” (in their talents or accrued wealth or possessions) than the older brothers and sisters , and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations (in their own ways and paths that they find that work for them) .”
וַיְבָ֨רֲכֵ֜ם בַּיּ֣וֹם הַהוּא֮ לֵאמוֹר֒ בְּךָ֗ יְבָרֵ֤ךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְשִֽׂמְךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים כְּאֶפְרַ֖יִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁ֑ה וַיָּ֥שֶׂם אֶת־אֶפְרַ֖יִם לִפְנֵ֥י מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃
So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
So I blessed them that day saying,”“By you shall Iinvoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Thus he put the younger grandchildren before the older grandchildren.
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף הִנֵּ֥ה אָנֹכִ֖י מֵ֑ת וְהָיָ֤ה אֱלֹהִים֙ עִמָּכֶ֔ם וְהֵשִׁ֣יב אֶתְכֶ֔ם אֶל־אֶ֖רֶץ אֲבֹתֵיכֶֽם׃
Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.
Then I said to my children, ““I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers ( and mothers) .
וַאֲנִ֞י נָתַ֧תִּֽי לְךָ֛ שְׁכֶ֥ם אַחַ֖ד עַל־אַחֶ֑יךָ אֲשֶׁ֤ר לָקַ֙חְתִּי֙ מִיַּ֣ד הָֽאֱמֹרִ֔י בְּחַרְבִּ֖י וּבְקַשְׁתִּֽי׃
And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”
And now, I assign to you “one portion more” than to your future children, my future generations, which I wrested from those “hostile” towards Gd’s children, myself being one of them, with my understanding of Gd’s word, thus my teachings, along with daily devotional prayer and continual study of Gd’s word.”
Is that why I have come to daily study and devotional prayer? to shore up and ensure the spiritual survival of my family and their future generations, no matter where they end up to live?
What will come to be? Only Gd knows….May my children and their future generations be blessed with much Gdly learning and teachings.