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Parshat Va-Y'hi

Jacob, now dying, asks his beloved son Joseph to swear that he will ultimately bury Jacob “with my fathers” in his ancestral grave, and not in Egypt. When Joseph brings his sons Manasseh and Ephraim to see their grandfather, Jacob tells Joseph that he will claim these two grandchildren born in Egypt as his own, and thus they will receive their inheritance from Jacob as if they are his sons. “‘I never expected to see you again,’” Jacob says, "And here G-d has let me see your children as well.'" Jacob begins to bless the boys, crossing his hands to put the right one on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and the left on Manasseh, the elder, a reversal of the custom; Joseph tries to correct him by positioning Manasseh on the right. But Jacob explains that he is deliberately doing so. “'I know my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great.' ....So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: G-d make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” Shabbat Mom loves the moment every Friday night when her husband speaks these words to their four children (or at least those at the table) as Jews have done for many generations. (Actually Shabbat Mom's favorite moment of all is the recitation of Eshet Chayil, when this "woman of valor" gets her due!) Jacob promises Joseph an extra portion more than his brothers, and blesses each of his sons in turn before he dies. When Joseph himself is near death many years later, he, too, begs his family to swear that some day the Jews “shall carry up my bones from here” and bring them back home.

Shabbat Shalom!

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