In Parshas Vayechi, Yaakov Avinu bestows Brachos upon each of the Shvatim. Brachos trigger heavenly benevolence to descend upon the world, thereby sustaining all of creation.
The NLE Morasha shiur on The Concept and Practice of Brachos addresses the following questions:
- What is the philosophy and reasoning behind the institution of Brachos?
- God knows my thoughts and feelings, so why must I articulate them explicitly?
- What is the meaning of the word Bracha?
- How important is kavana (mindfulness) in Brachos?
- In what way can a Bracha affect the one who recites it, the Jewish nation, and the world at large?
- Why does someone listening to a Bracha respond “Amen?”
At the end of Parshas Vayechi, both Yaakov Avinu and Yosef HaTzadik die. The Torah and Chazal relate to death, burial and mourning from all angles – from the perspective of the deceased as well as that of the living.
The NLE Morasha shiur on Jewish Perspectives on Death, Burial, and Mourning addresses the following questions:
- What is Judaism’s attitude toward death?
- What is the purpose of death? Why must a person die?
- Are the dead aware of what happens to their bodies after they die?
- Why does Judaism reject cremation as an alternative to burial?
- What is the purpose of mourning over the dead?
- Why do we show honor to the deceased? What can we do for someone who is already dead?