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Burying And Swearing

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Topic: Jacob, Joseph, Oath to be Buried in Israel

Alan Jacob from Silver Spring, MD wrote:
Dear Rabbi,

In Parshat Vayechi, why does Yaakov make Yosef swear to bury him in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel)? It seems a little extreme to make him swear. Shouldn't Yaakov have just believed Yosef and trusted him?

Dear Alana Jacob,

Yaakov trusted Yosef. But he didn't trust Pharaoh. Yaakov was concerned that unless Yosef made an oath, Pharaoh would not allow Yaakov's body to leave Egypt.

Rabbi Eliyahu Munk explains why it was so important that Yaakov not be buried, even temporarily, in Egypt. Yaakov wanted to establish the fact that the Land of Israel should be the focal point of the Jewish People. Merely asking Yosef would not have had the same impact as to the importance of the message for all future generations. Thus, he asked Yosef to take an oath.

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