I know there are lots of reasons why, but what is the main reason Hashem made it so that we get blessed like them?


3 Answers 3


"main reason" ? that would depend on whose answer is being used. off the top of my head , 3 reasons given are

  1. The 2 brothers represented the accomplished Learner (Ephraim) and the accomplished BusinessMan , both of which are needed for a thriving nation.
  2. Ephraim represents the one who stirs up the nest, ie: trouble maker. Throughout Navi, Ephraim is the one either causing the controversy or whose name is used. Menasha on the other hand were uniters, the reason why Moshe picked them to split up and be half in 'Jordon'
  3. These were the first brothers who are mentioned who actually got along with each other even though there were reasons for them not to. (heard from Jack Almo)

I have heard that it is to give us strength in Torah while living in exile, just as Ephraim and Menashe were able to grow up Jewish in Egypt.

  • 6
    I heard this idea from R' Rakeffet. He adds that in the Friday night blessing for girls, we substitute Sara, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah because they the inner strength to flourish spiritually even while growing up in evil homes.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 22, 2010 at 14:54
  • Isaac, thanks for that treat from R' Rakeffet! Does he bring a source for the minhag of saying that for the girls?
    – Yahu
    Dec 22, 2010 at 19:00
  • I don't recall that he brought a source. I don't even remember which shiur I heard that in, so it'd be difficult for me to track it down. Sorry.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 23, 2010 at 3:46
  • 1
    @Yahu The NCSY bentcher
    – avi
    Dec 16, 2013 at 16:11
  • This idea was also quoted from Rabbi Boruch Myers.
    – MTL
    Jan 5, 2015 at 17:06

The whole book of Bereishis is replete with sibling rivalry. It triggered the first murder in the world through Kayin and Hevel, Yishmael needed to be sent away so as not to influence Yitzchak, Yaakov had to flee from an enraged Esav and then finally Yosef was sold by his brothers. The narrative is one of consistent opposition and conflict. It is only when we get to Parshas Vayechi, right at the end of sefer Bereishis that we see this trend amongst brothers come to an end.1

When presented to Yaakov Avinu for a bracha at the end of Yaakov’s life, Ephraim and Menashe do not react, let alone flinch, when Yaakov swaps over his hands and blesses Ephraim, the younger, with the bracha reserved for the bechor (firstborn). There is only a sense of togetherness with no iota of resentment. Explains Rav Yosef Yehuda Leib Sorotzkin in his Meged Yosef that it is specifically due to Ephraim and Menashe’s response that we mention their names in the bircas habanim ahead of any other tzaddikim from the Torah. Menashe could have been immensely jealous as he was overlooked and Ephraim could have quite easily displayed a boastful persona. Yet this was not the case. It was this mutual respect that they had for each other that set them apart. As he concludes:

"בראש ובראשונה אב רוצה לברך את בניו, שהשלום והאחוה ישרור ביניהם בהעדר גמור של קנאה וקפידא, כפי שהדגימו אפרים ומנשה שלא קנאו זה בזה, דאין יד שמאל מקנאת ביד ימין."

“First and foremost, a father wants to bless his sons that the peace and brotherhood that exists between them should be completely devoid of jealousy and intolerance according to the example of Ephraim and Menashe who were not jealous of each other, that the one (under) the left hand was not jealous of the one (under) the right hand.”

Another answer which has also been alluded to above (but not sourced) is brought in the Oznayim LaTorah by the Lutzker Rov, HaRav Zalman Sorotskin zt"l, and is also mentioned in the Meged Yosef (see the next page in the link above) that despite being born in exile, they remained loyal to the Torah despite the Egyptian culture and environment. He writes there:

לי נראה לבאר באופן אחר, מדוע כל אב בישראל מברך את בניו שהיו כאפרים וכמנשה. אף שאפרים ומנשה גדלו במצרים, מכל מקום הצליחו להתעלות עד שהיו ראויים להכלל בשבטי י-ה. זה לא יתכן אלא אם כן מיצו את כל כוחותיהם

It seems to me to explain in a different way, why every father in Israel blesses his sons to be like Ephraim and like Menashe. Even though Ephraim and Menashe grew up in Egypt, nevertheless they succeeded in rising to the point where they deserved to be included in the (12) tribes of G-d. This would not have been possible were it not for the fact that they exhausted all their strength (to succeed).

1 As observed by the Mikdash Mordechai in his explanation on Vayechi 48:20. For a similar observation note the Midrash Tanchuma, Shemos, siman 27 and the Yalkut Shimoni on Shir HaShirim 8:1.

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