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Weekly Drash - Shemot
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Vayechi - ויחי : “And he lived”
Thought for the Week:
If one dreams of a mountain, he should rise early and say [Isaiah 52:7], “How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news …” If one dreams of a horn he should rise early and say [Isaiah 27:13], “It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown …” If one dreams of a donkey in a dream, he may hope for salvation, as it says [in Zechariah 9:9], “Behold, your king is coming to you; he is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey …” (Talmud, b.Berachot 56b)
As Jacob looked into the future to bless his sons regarding their tribal destinies, he was seeking the Messiah and the age of redemption, as he says, “For Your salvation [yeshua] I wait, O LORD” (Genesis 49:18). Though he pours out his most lavish blessing over his favored son, Joseph, he nevertheless is prophetically compelled to give the kingship to his son Judah. He declares, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet” (Genesis 49:10).
As Jacob continues to bless his son Judah, he prophesies, “He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine.” It is difficult to ascertain the intended sense of this couplet. It may simply be a blessing for agricultural prosperity in that the grapevines will be hardy and thick enough to serve as a hitching post. From the messianic perspective, any mention of a donkey evokes the Zechariah 9:9 passage:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; he is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
On the strength of Zechariah 9:9, the Sages reckoned almost every reference to a donkey as a reference to Messiah. According to the Talmud, even if one merely dreams of a donkey, it is a sign that he may anticipate salvation. When Yeshua entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, everyone immediately associated it with the Zechariah 9:9 passage. His entrance on a donkey was an open statement declaring, ‘I am He to whom the prophet referred.’ Thus the “foal” and “donkey’s colt” of the tribe of Judah is the messianic expectation—the steed that carries Messiah to Jerusalem. But what does it mean that he ties his donkey to a choice vine? Yeshua is also called “the Vine,” as He says in John 15:5, “I am the vine.” He is the choice vine to which the messianic expectation is tethered.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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