December 18 - 19
Pharaoh and Jacob meet for the first time in this week's parashah, Parashat Vayigash. The Torah captures their first words (Genesis 47:8): "Pharaoh asked Jacob, 'How many are the days of the years of your life?'" The commentators wonder about the reason for Pharaoh's direct question and this exchange. How many of us enjoy conversations that begin with our age? What prompts Pharaoh to inquire about Jacob's age?
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch looks at the text's inclusion of the words "days" and "years" to indicate that for a few select people, each day is important and has special meaning. He makes the point that Pharaoh specifically asks about Jacob's days because he lived each day to the fullest. This is a message we can all take to heart.
There are a lot of ways to live each day with significance. One way is by engaging in mitzvot. It is a mitzvah to help make a minyan of 10 people at prayer services. We need a minimum of 10 people present so that mourners and those observing yahrzeits can recite the Mourner's Kaddish. We have added the yahrzeit lists to our Shabbat announcements to make the community aware of yahrzeits and who needs a minyan to say kaddish. Please help out your friends and fellow congregants by attending Friday night services, Shabbat morning services, and shiva minyanim when you are able to do so. It makes a big difference and it is a meaningful way to honor our loved ones.