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When Yosef took his sons to receive a bracha from his father, Yaakov switched his hands to put his right hand over Ephraim, the youngest brother. When Yosef questioned him about that, Yaakov said that he had switched his hands because the younger brother would become greater than the older one.

The question is: Yaakov had already seen that giving preference to one brother over the other generates conflicts and envy between them. And he also saw how destructive that can be to their relationship. He realized that with his own sons in the story of the Ketonet Pasim and in other situations.

Knowing that, why Yaakov said that Ephraim was going to be greater than Menashe in front of him? Couldn't he tell that to Yosef later on, when the boys would not be around to listen, or just tell them some other reason and keep the truth to himself? Wasn't Yaakov afraid that it would generate some level of envy in Menashe's heart and a fight between them?

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    I think that's what Yosef asked Yaakov.
    – pcoz
    Jun 28 at 18:55

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This question is valid when yaakov gave yosef the multi colored jacket, it caused jealousy amongst the brothers and the debacle of yosef being sold. (gemara shabbat daf 10b)

But when it comes to giving brachos over to the next generation, whoever is supposed to get the bracha and be the leader, is supposed to get it. Unfortunately for Menasha, his feelings were not relevant. And even Yaakov did it not in front of Menashe, he'd anyway find out sooner or later.

We see that Yitzchak didn't hesitate to try to give Eisav a bracha despite Yaakov would probably have felt bad as well.

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