Israel Forever

For the week ending 6 January 2007 / 16 Tevet 5767

A Blessing for Children

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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When Jewish parents bless their sons on the eve of a Shabbat or holiday they fulfill the prophecy of the Patriarch Yaakov who told his grandsons that future generations would bless their sons that "G-d would make them like Ephraim and Menashe".

As we listen to these words read this Shabbat in our synagogues we cannot help but wonder why Yaakov insisted on instituting a blessing using his grandsons as models rather than any of his righteous sons.

The popular explanation is that while all of Yaakov's sons were raised in Eretz Israel and in the home of their saintly father, Ephraim and Menashe were raised in Egypt. Despite the negative atmosphere of that corrupt society they managed to survive as righteous men. The blessing parents give to their sons is that they should have a similar ability to survive every challenge to their spiritual security.

How ironic it is that there are Jewish youth born and raised in holy Eretz Yisrael who should turn things around and seek to imitate the corrupt ways of modern "Egyptian" culture. Perhaps the example of Ephraim and Menashe will inspire them to follow in their path and thus secure Israel forever.

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