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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U"Pashtei Parshas Vayichi

We are approaching our last weeks of the third cycle of divrei Torah. There is thought to switch to Pirkei Avos, depending on sponsorship. Thank you to all our faithful readers. Greatness Iced With Humility

As the great Yaakov Aveinu neared his death, Yosef brought his two sons, Menasheh and Efraim to receive a blessing. After famously placing his right hand upon the younger son, Efraim; he blessed them that for all generations, Klal Yisroel would desire their children to be like these two children now in front of him. As the pasuk says: May Hashem make you like Efraim and Menasheh. But why was this the blessing that would endure for future generations? Avraham and Yitzchok were certainly greater than Menasheh and Efraim; why not bless the future children of Klal Yisroel to be like the greatest? And a second aspect to the question; if Efraim received the right hand and was placed first in the blessing because of some inherent greatness in him or perhaps in his descendants, why was there a need to include the lesser son, Menasheh, in the blessing at all? And the answer is that our greatest and deepest wish for our children is that they grow to possess the spiritual strength to continue their ascent upward no matter the circumstances. Every person will encounter challenges, each on his own level and tailored to his life’s journey. It is these pitfalls we pray that he or she can avoid, and indeed use as a steppingstone forward. Menasheh and Efraim were the only two people raised true to the Torah while surrounded by the physical lusts presented by Mitzrayim. They were unique in that they demonstrated the ability of a Yid to remain strong and pass his trials on the way to solidifying his greatness. We chose Efraim and Menasheh over the Avos because they represent our hopes and dreams for our children — unwavering dedication in the face of all odds. The question remains, though, why include Menasheh in the blessing, Efraim himself should suffice for this message? And the answer is that when Yaakov purposely placed only his left hand upon Menasheh, telling him plainly that his younger brother is more worthy than he, Menasheh did not become despondent. Menasheh understood that he was given a role in Klal Yisroal to fulfill, and he would work to that end. The success of others did not make him jealous; rather, he was joyous that Hashem’s will was being fulfilled! Menasheh lived a life content in doing what Hashem asked of him, without the issues that come when one is out for his own interests. He was therefore happy to receive what blessing was befitting him in his avodah and thought nothing if others may have different talents and responsibilities than he. Menasheh was a master in the trait of humility, where a person understands his role and is never hounded by jealousy and the pursuit of honor! And this was the reason that Menasheh was included in the blessing of Klal Yisroel’s children for all time. For it is truly important to be great, but perhaps more important is to remain humble. It is paramount to reach the heights of Efraim, but equally as important to understand a person’s purpose like Menasheh. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


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