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A Blessing on Your Head

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Blessing Children Friday Night

Peter Fine wrote:

There is a custom for parents to bless their children on Friday night. We bless our daughters to be like the Matriarchs - Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah. And I was wondering why we bless our sons to be like Ephraim and Menashe - the sons of Joseph? Why don't we bless them to be like the Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Dear Peter Fine,

A fine question! We bless our sons to be like Ephraim and Menashe in fulfillment of the words of Jacob in Vayechi, when he prophesies that the Jewish People will always bless their children in that manner. Jacob chose Ephraim and Menashe to be our role models because they were the first two children to be born in exile; nevertheless, they retained their Jewish identity and even grew to great spiritual heights. In addition, Ephraim and Menashe were elevated to the status of "tribes" by Jacob. This implies that they reached the level of their fathers and thus forged an unbreakable link in the chain of Jewish continuity.

Sources:

  • Genesis 48:20
  • Oznaim LeTorah, ad loc.

 
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