Parashat Vayechi marks the end of an era in Israelite history...the last Parashat in the Book of Genesis. It brings us to the death of both Jacob and his son, Joseph.
Jacob is on his deathbed and he calls for his sons. Jacob asks his sons to gather together, in 1 group, to receive his deathbed blessing, but individually. He recites a blessing, and some really difficult words about each of his sons. He more or less gives a prediction about each of his sons' future, based upon their character and their past history. He is not kind, and he certainly does not hold back.
Jacob says: "Come together, and I will tell you what will happen in the course of time."
Jacob reminded his sons of their individual actions, telling them that sometimes we do things that can affect not only the present, but also future generations.
He speaks to them about choosing to be a blessing or choosing to be a curse, and each one of them must decide which road they will choose to follow.
When all is said, and and done, Jacob's sons come together and pray to show that they have indeed forgiven one another, and that they are stronger together, than as individuals.
We conclude Parashat Vayechi, and the Book of Genesis with blessings. And as we say "goodbye" to 2012, perhaps Parashat Vayechi will teach us something about reconciliation and forgiveness.
Be strong, Be strong, And may we be strengthened