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Vayechi Parsha Overview: The blessings of Jacob/Yaakov

Adapted from Parsha Pages for Sefer Bereishis, this is a basic overview of the continuation of the parsha story in a traditional “Q&A” format, adaptable for kids of any age.  Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash.  But be open to anything your child might have to say!

Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use them in our homeschool!  There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha, as well as a sequencing summary for the the entire book of Bereishit/ Bereishis/ Genesis. (whatever you want to call it!)… enjoy!

clip_image002יעקב and all the בני ישראל were still in מצרים.

It was almost time for יעקב to… (die; he was 147 years old)

He did not want to be buried in (מצרים)

יעקב made יוסף promise to bring his body back to ארץ כנען.


image יוסף brought his sons to יעקב for a ברכה.

יוסף’s older son was… (מנשה);  יוסף’s younger son was… (אפרים)

But יעקב mixed up his hands when he bentsched them!  Did he do it by mistake? (no, he did not!)

He put his right hand on (אפרים’s head), and his left hand on (מנשה’s head).

He did that because אפרים was… (more humble, and learned תורה)


יעקב bentsched אפרים and מנשה with words we still say at night when we say שמע:


הַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל רָע יְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַנְּעָרִים וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי וְשֵׁם אֲבֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ:

(read more about this tefillah here)


יעקב also wanted to bentsch his own sons before he died.

Three of the sons had behaved badly – they did not get a full ברכה.  (ראובן, שמעון and לוי)

יעקב told them:

                ראובן, like water, you rush too much into things – you should have been a better leader.

                שמעון and לוי, you saved דינה, but were cruel to שכם – that’s not how a צדיק acts.


image The rest of the sons each got his own special ברכה!

יהודה, like a (lion), will be the leader, the king of all the שבטים.

Two שבטים will go together: 

זבולון will have (sailing ships) and wealth to support…

יששכר, like a (donkey), faithfully… (learning תורה)

דן, like a (snake), will be a powerful fighter against his enemies.

גד will have many soldiers.

 אשרwill have rich food, good things to eat and fertile land in ארץ ישראל.

נפתלי, fast and graceful like a (gazelle or deer), will speak beautifully.

יוסף, charming and beautiful, is like a vine with many grapes growing.

בנימין, like a (wolf), is a powerful hunter, but never as mighty as יהודה.


When יעקב died, all the מצריים mourned – even פרעה!

Who brought יעקב’s body back to ארץ כנען?  (יוסף and all his brothers)

They buried him in… (מערת המכפלה) which means (the cave of doubles, or pairs of our אבות)

Who else is buried there?  (אדם and חוה, אברהם and שרה, יצחק and רבקה, and לאה)

The only one of our אבות and אמהות who isn’t buried there was … (רחל)


יוסף lived to be 110 years old.

When he died, he asked his brothers… (to carry his body out of  מצריםwhen they left)

Would they keep their promise?  (yes, they would!)


All of יעקב’s sons died in מצרים.  Their descendents, led by משה, would take יוסף’s body out…

As we will find out in ספר שמות!


חָזָק חָזָק וְנִתְחַזֵּק!

May learning Torah make us strong!