Yaakov saw (Beraishis 48 (19)) that Efraim would be greater than Menashe and so insisted that his right hand should rest on Efraim. Did the placing of the hand bring about the greatness and if not why was it necessary?

2 Answers 2


According to Abarbanel, Yosef placed Menashe on Yaakov's right because:

להיותו הבכור והיד הימין היא גדולת הכח מהשמאלית ולכן היד הימין היא העקר בפעולות האדם

Since he [Menashe] was the firstborn, and the right hand is stronger than the left, therefore the right hand is the main one in all the actions of a man.

In other words, the blessing would be stronger when the right hand was used. However, Yaakov placed his right hand on Efraim beacuse:

ברצות י״י שיתברך אפרים יותר היה שלא חלה עליו יד שמאלית

God's will was that Efraim be blessed more, so it was that the left hand did not rest upon him.

  • thanks, so did the blessing bring about the greatness of Efraim? Jan 2, 2012 at 17:31
  • @AvrohomYitzchok, You mean the greatness of Efraim over Menashe specifically. Well, if we assume that Yaakov's b'rachos to them came to fruition and we also assume that the right hand produces a "stronger" b'racha than the left, then yes, we would have to say that the blessing did bring about the greatness of Efraim.
    – jake
    Jan 2, 2012 at 17:37
  • So what happened was that Yaakov foresaw that that Efraim would be greater than Menashe and that this greatness depended on his blessing. I can live with that. It would be good to see a source that says it. Jan 2, 2012 at 22:31
  • @AvrohomYitzchok, It seems from the above source that Yaakov saw that Hashem wanted Efraim to be greater, and thus inferred that he should bless him "stronger", i.e. with his right hand. Is it not explicit enough?
    – jake
    Jan 3, 2012 at 17:04

Kavod. Joshua came from Ephraim. Thus he gives honor to the Ephraim by recognizing their leadership.

  • So your answer to the first question is "no", then?
    – msh210
    Jan 2, 2012 at 16:26
  • In such matters, one can not know what caused what. In our attempts to flee from our fate, we instead make it happen:)
    – avi
    Jan 2, 2012 at 16:29
  • All right. Do you have a source for this answer, or is it your own conjecture?
    – msh210
    Jan 2, 2012 at 16:34

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