Vayechi: Vast cosmic secrets appear couched in the dramatic events surrounding the deathbed blessings bestowed upon Yosef’s two sons Menashe and Ephraim by our saintly forebear Yaakov. The cryptic narrative seems to alert the reader to uncanny Divine insight on the part of Yaakov, the purveyor of the blessings, regarding the future of the two emerging tribes and the nation of Israel as a whole.
When the Nazis came to our city and the Jews had to relinquish all their possessions, my father took my mother’s wedding ring and buried it inside a hollow wall. One day we got word that a boy became sick with tuberculosis and needed to be hospitalized. The family needed money to save his life, so my father and mother dug out the ring and sold it to save the boy. Others said that my parents were crazy, but it was a case of pikuach nefesh, a Jewish life was endangered.
As it turned out, the boy was admitted to the hospital but shortly thereafter died. When he was originally admitted into the hospital, however, he was not allowed to do so under his own name. Instead he needed an alias, so he used my father’s name.
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