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13/14 January: Shabbat Vayechi

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 4.02 pm: goes out 5.11 pm

In parshat Vayechi, the Torah tells us how we should bless our children:  “By you shall [the children of Israel] invoke blessings, saying:  May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe.”

Since the Torah explicitly states that all future generations are to bless their sons in the name of Ephraim and Menashe, this explains why their names, and not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s, are invoked in the blessing parents give to sons (in contrast to the blessing for daughters which invokes the names of the matriarchs).

Why are Ephraim and Menashe worthy models for our children?  One explanation is that Ephraim and Menashe were raised in a foreign land, Egypt, and yet maintained their identity as part of our people.  In the same way, we hope that our children today will withstand the challenges of living in an assimilated world and preserve their Jewish identity.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

January 12, 2017