What are you more – an Efraim or a Menashe?

Friday, 2 January, 2015 - 5:05 am


Dear Friends,


What are you more – an Efraim or a Menashe?

When Yaakov Avinu blessed Menashe and Efraim, he said, “By you shall Yisrael bless, saying, ‘May G-d make you like Efraim and like Menashe.’” And since then, that is how we bless our children – the same way we were blessed by our parents – that we should be like Efraim and Menashe.

The Rebbe brings here a wonderful explanation, one that clarifies the essence of this blessing:

Menashe symbolizes Yosef’s connection with his past, his roots, the house of his father. When Yosef named Menashe, he said, “G-d has made me all my hardship and all my father’s household.”

Efraim, on the other hand, symbolizes the present and the fertile result of Yosef’s exile, as Yosef himself defined it – “G-d has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

There were two things that gave Yosef the strength he needed while he was alone in his exile: a. the constant emotional connection to his father’s home – “Menashe.” b. The goal to be fruitful and successful particularly in his land of suffering – “Efraim.”

These two things were very significant and important for Yosef during his life – and both things are significant and important in every person’s life, with all its changes and fluctuations.

In order to survive and to succeed in remaining a faithful Jew as well as a fertile person in every place and in every situation, a person has to, on one hand, maintain and strengthen his emotional connection with his roots, with his father’s home, with his Father in Heaven. On the other hand, he has to understand and internalize the goal to be fertile even in the many different situations in “the land of his suffering.”

For some of us, “Menashe” is the dominant factor – the connection with the ancestral home, the Father in Heaven. But there are those for whom it is the concentration and focusing on the goal, on the present and the future that are more dominant personality traits.

But both things – both “Menashe” and “Efraim” are necessary for every Jew, wherever he is. Therefore, that is the best blessing for our children: “My G-d make you like Efraim and like Menashe.”

So it really doesn’t matter what you are more – an Efraim or a Menashe; the main thing is that they are both with you along your way.


Shabbat Shalom,

Zalmen Wishedski

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