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After a mad-dash to the airport, with seven suitcases, one duffel bag, 6 backpacks, 5 carry-on bags, 6 coats, four kids and one cat, we are now in Ilford and are excited to finally see the synagogue building and meet the community whose presence makes it special.

While this week's Parasha is all about moving places, it doesn't include anything about double-checking a cat's paperwork, so it doesn't end up in an expensive quarantine at Heathrow Airport for an extra night - before getting its own private taxi ride to its new home.

However it does include Israel (Jacob)'s blessing of Joseph's sons upon meeting them for the first time:

הָֽאֱלֹהִ֡ים אֲשֶׁר֩ הִתְהַלְּכ֨וּ אֲבֹתַ֤י לְפָנָיו֙ אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֔ק הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ הָרֹעֶ֣ה אֹתִ֔י מֵעוֹדִ֖י עַד־הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה. הַמַּלְאָךְ֩ הַגֹּאֵ֨ל אֹתִ֜י מִכׇּל־רָ֗ע יְבָרֵךְ֮ אֶת־הַנְּעָרִים֒ וְיִקָּרֵ֤א בָהֶם֙ שְׁמִ֔י וְשֵׁ֥ם אֲבֹתַ֖י אַבְרָהָ֣ם וְיִצְחָ֑ק וְיִדְגּ֥וּ לָרֹ֖ב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ

This blessing roughly translates to: May the God in whose ways my ancestors walked and who shepherded me throughout my life, may the angel who saves me from all evil bless these boys [Ephraim and Menashe].

HaMelech HaGoel Oti is traditionally sung as a lullaby and at baby blessings - here are two lovely settings: one choral and one by a contemporary artist, Elana Jagoda.

In the context of our Parasha, it is said as a passing-down of traditions from a grandfather, adopting grandchildren he has never met from a son who married when he was unable to give his blessing - wishing that through these children, he and his ancestor's names will live on in this world.

While my family carried its backpacks, suitcases and cat, we also carry with us the wishes of our parents for a successful shidduch with SWESRS, and many blessings from the community we leave behind.  Each of us carry our own good names and the shem tov of those who wish us well.  We can only hope to be a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Jordan