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As the book of Genesis draws to a close with its last Torah portion, Vay’chi,
Joseph nears the end of a long life, spent mostly in Egypt. Even though his children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are born in Egypt, Joseph still recalls his true home of Canaan. On his death-bed, he reminds his family of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring them out of Egypt. Joseph asks that his bones be taken with them when they leave (Gen. 50:23-25).

Although Joseph doesn’t name it as such, he keeps the idea of Eretz Yisrael in his heart. Joseph’s desire to be buried in the land of Israel emphasizes every Jew’s connection to our homeland. It is that connection that should keep us interested in news about what goes on in Israel, and the impact that other events in the Middle East will have on the State. As tempers continue to flare in Iran and Iraq, may God, Maker of Peace, keep Israel and the rest the world safe as well.

Rabbi Bellush