(Genesis-47:28-50:26)

(Haftara: Kings I 2:1-12)

  1. 1. [48:14] Ya’akov got the rights of the first-born even though he was younger than Esav. Now he is giving the rights of the first-born to Ephraim even though he is younger than Menashe. Why is he doing this and what does this tell us about the Torah’s view of the rights of the first-born?
  1. [48:20] When we bless our male children on the evening of Shabbat, we say, “May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe”. What is so special about Ephraim and Menashe?
  1. 3. [49:1] Ya’akov gathers his sons and then says that he will tell them what will happen to them at the end of days. He then describes each, in positive and negative ways, says mysterious poetic things, and then blesses some and doesn’t bless others. What is the meaning of this gathering? Why doesn’t he just give each of them a blessing before he dies?
  1. [50:7] All the sons of Israel (with many Egyptians) go up to the land of Israel to bury their father and grandfather. Why did they all return to Egypt? Why didn’t they stay in their homeland?
  1. 5. [Haftara] When King David dies, he blesses Solomon, and then tells him to deal kindly or unkindly with people he had known. Why are Ya’akov’s last words centered totally on his sons, while many of David’s last words are centered on other people?

Commentary

[48:16] “May the angel who redeemed me from all evil bless the youth…”

Why is the word “youth (ne’arim)” used here? The word is not usually used in this context. Ya’akov wants to bless Ephraim and Menashe with the blessing of never-ending youthfulness. Ya’akov is saying, “May you always have the enthusiasm of youth in serving God”.

–R. Yitzchak Meir Alter, the Gerrer rebbe, 1798-1866, Poland.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer