Made in Egypt – Parashat Vayechi

December 24, 2017 at 2:09 AM , , ,

“…Now, your two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came to you, to the land of Egypt, shall be considered mine; Ephraim and Menasheh shall be to me like Reuven and Shimon…..” – Bereishit 48:5

״…ועתה שני בניך הנולדים לך בארץ מצרים עד בואי אליך מצרימה לי הם אפרים ומנשה כראובן ושמעון יהיו לי….״ – בראשית מח, ה

Yaakov gave Yosef’s sons the same status as his own sons; Ephraim and Menasheh would each father an independent tribe among the tribes of B’nei Yisrael. But instead of simply stating, “Your two sons Ephraim and Menasheh shall be to me like Reuven and Shimon,” Yaakov detailed their identities to Yosef, emphasizing where and when they were born. Which Ephraim and Menasheh? — “your two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came to you.”

This description not only excludes any other children that Yosef might have had later (see Ramban 48:15), but also explains what was unique about Ephraim and Menasheh and why, of all Yaakov’s grandchildren, only they merited this elite status.

Pyramids

Ephraim and Menasheh were raised in Egypt, an environment entirely foreign to Yaakov’s values and lifestyle. In addition, they were born a number of years before Yaakov’s arrival in Egypt, so their early education was not under his direct influence. Still, they followed Yaakov’s path, and conducted themselves in a manner befitting grandchildren of Yaakov.

Therefore, among all his grandchildren, Yaakov could say specifically of Ephraim and Menasheh, “They shall be considered mine,” for their conduct epitomized Yaakov’s uniqueness even among the Patriarchs: his ability to ensure that all his children would remain righteous (see Rashi on Beraishis 47:31). Their adherence to Yaakov’s ways despite all odds exemplified his legacy; he therefore considered them like his own sons.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 15, p. 435

 

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