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Friday, December 13

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayechi

This Sunday, 12 Teves, is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Joseph Schechter of Ner Yisrael. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yoseif ben Eliezer Z'ev.


Before Yaakov blesses all his children together, Yoseif brings his sons to Yaakov to be blessed. "And he blessed them on that day saying, by you Israel shall bless saying, may HaShem make you like Efrayim and Menasheh." Rashi validates Yaakov's prophecy by explaining that the blessing was that for generations to come Jews would bless their children to be like Efrayim and Menasheh. Indeed, it is the practice of most Jews to bestow this blessing upon their sons every Shabbos night. Yaakov was blessing his grandchildren that they should merit to be the paradigmatic children like whom all parents hope and pray their children will become.


Although the pasuk begins vayevarecheim, and he blessed them, the actual blessing itself begins becha, by you, in the singular. The word bachem would have been expected in that situation.


When we bless our children to be like Efrayim and Menasheh, it is certainly a tribute to them and their righteousness, having been brought up in a foreign land, surrounded by negative influences and nevertheless emerging as the great men they were. However, the word becha would seem to be referring to Yoseif. It is a tribute to Yoseif and the diligence and dedication with which he brought up his precious children in the most loathsome of societies that we pray that our sons be like his. Therefore, this blessing of Yaakov was very much directed to Yoseif as well.


Have a good Shabbos.


Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

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