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TO BE LIKE YOU

by Jonathan Fisher    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

In Parshat Vayechi we find a very interesting blessing given by Jacob to his grandchildren, Ephraim and Menashe. After placing his hands upon their heads, he blesses them as follows: "By you shall Israel bless saying, "May Hashem make you like Ephraim and Menashe" (Genesis 48:20).

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In Parshat Vayechi we find a very interesting blessing given by Jacob to his grandchildren, Ephraim and Menashe. After placing his hands upon their heads, he blesses them as follows: "By you shall Israel bless saying, "May Hashem make you like Ephraim and Menashe" (Genesis 48:20). What kind of blessing is this, that others should want to be like you? How are Ephraim and Menashe better off now than they were before their blessing? This blessing does not seem to resemble the blessing Jacob received from his father, that others would be subservient to him both spiritually and physically. Will this blessing unto the grandchildren be of any benefit to them?

Perhaps, one could suggest that not only does this blessing have something to offer, but that it is in fact the ultimate blessing. That everyone wants to be like you shows that you have achieved greatness. As such, this blessing is the gift of everything good imaginable. When a person wants to give a blessing to his children, he will look around to see what is good and will bless them with the best that he sees.

If people will choose to bless their children to be like Ephraim and Menashe, these two must have possessed many riches, both material and spiritual. Had Jacob delineated all that they would be given, the list would, by definition, have limited what they could ultimately become. By the manner in which Jacob blessed his grandchildren, empowered them to acquire an unlimited amount of fortune, so great that all would wish to bestow the same greatness upon their own children.

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Jonathan Fisher, a graduate of Yeshiva Atlanta and Yeshiva University, writes from Israel.

You are invited to read more Parshat Vayechi articles.

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