Many of us bless our children on Friday nights. The bracha for daughters is pretty easy to understand- among other things we wish them to be as great as Sarah, Rivka and Leah- towering female figures in the Torah, about whom much is known through a pshat reading of Bereshit. The corresponding figures for a son, though, are Ephraim and Menashe. Besides having been born to Yosef and Potiphar's daughter and their deathbed "adoption" by Yaakov, we know almost nothing about them. What are some good sources for their being of such a stature that we would want our sons to emulate them?


Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet has discussed this many a time in his recorded lectures in the Gruss Kollel.

If I recall correctly, his explanation is that Ephraim and Menashe were the first Jews that were born and raised in Egypt. When we bless our children to be like Ephraim and Menashe we are saying that they should be able to be a part of the general world but still be able to retain their Judaism at the highest level, just like Ephraim and Menashe.

  • You mean ישימך אלקים כאפשרים וכמנשה - G-d will put us in Egypt? What's the blessing? What's the highest level of Efrayim and Menashe? What do we know about them besides the story of their blessings? (I know you didn't say it, but why do you bring it if it seems to be so....) – Al Berko Jul 8 '18 at 12:15
  • @AlBerko The blessing is that just like them we should be able to excel in Judaism despite being submerged in a foreign culture. – Alex Jul 8 '18 at 13:07
  • 1
    And what about us in the Holy Land? Why not Yossef and Yehuda? Why not Moses and Aharon? Why girls ARE blessed with foremothers? – Al Berko Jul 8 '18 at 13:15
  • @AlBerko Some would argue that the Holy Land today is still a foreign culture. Regardless, the blessing wasn't coined at a time when millions of Jews lived in Israel. I'm not sure why you think Yosef and Yehuda or Moses and Aharon would be better for expressing this idea. As for girls, we presumably want to bless them to be like the ideal women not the ideal men. And the concept referred to in the answer may not have been as relevant for girls. – Alex Jul 8 '18 at 16:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .