Rabbi Sherman’s Weekly Torah Commentary – December 17-18, 2021 (14 Tevet 5782)

December 17-18, 2021                                                                                              Shabbat Vayechi
14 Tevet 5782                                                                               


This week, for the first time in the Torah, we meet a grandfather. While grandparents and grandchildren existed earlier in the Book of Genesis, we have no record of the generations actually relating to each other. Here, in a critical moment in Parashat Vayechi and in our biblical story, Jacob meets his grandchildren, Ephraim and Menasseh. He blesses them by saying that they are as important to him as his own children: “Ephraim and Menasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon” (Genesis 48:5).


in a recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers studied brain activity in grandparents as they looked at their grandchildren. Results showed that grandparents showed stronger emotional empathy (the ability to feel what another person is feeling) for their grandchildren than they did for their children. Researchers concluded that grandparents are biologically wired to have an emotional response to their grandchildren. They even describe this response as a “warmth” that grandparents have toward their grandchildren.


Parashat Vayechi completes the story of Joseph and concludes the Book of Genesis, leaving us with the message that painful family breakdowns can be repaired, and relationships between generations can be restored. Grandparents and grandchildren have so much to offer each other.


With this final parasha of Genesis, we proclaim: Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another.

Please join in this week’s Shabbat celebrations on Channel 1960 or in the Synagogue.

(Masks and silent cell phones, please)


Friday at 4:15 PM:         Shabbat Evening Service followed by Blessings in Dining Room

Saturday at 10:00 AMShabbat Morning Service followed by Blessings in Dining Room

Torah Talk – Saturday at 1:30 PM in the Synagogue (Note new location; masks, please)


Shmoozing/Meditation – Thursday, December 3 at 3:00 PM in the Music Room (Masks, please)

Next week’s “Shmoozing with Rabbi Sherman” will be a study/experiment in Jewish Meditation. Learn the basics of Jewish meditation and how it can help us find peace and connection.


Candle lighting time for the city of Mission Viejo: Friday evening at 4:27 PM

Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 5:26 PM



Shabbat Shalom                                                                                               Rabbi Sherman