January 8, 2004
For the Kids
A time to Live
Vayechi is the last portion of the book of Genesis. We have read all about the creation of the world, Noah's ark, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives and the 12 tribes. The family ends up in Egypt, which is where the Book of Exodus picks up.
The meaning of the word Vayechi is "and he lived," but, ironically, two important people die in this portion: Jacob and Joseph. And what's even more interesting is that we are told that their bodies are preserved as mummies.
Jews have always lived in different cultures, and they often adopt and adapt to the culture they are living in. In Egypt, they adopted the tradition of preserving their dead.