Genesis 48

1Some time afterward, Yosef was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Menashe and Efraim.

אוַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֹּאמֶר לְיוֹסֵף הִנֵּה אָבִיךָ חֹלֶה וַיִּקַּח אֶת־שְׁנֵי בָנָיו עִמּוֹ אֶת־מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶת־אֶפְרָיִם׃

2When Yaakov was told, “Your son Yosef has come to see you,” Yisrael summoned his strength and sat up in bed.

בוַיַּגֵּד לְיַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה בִּנְךָ יוֹסֵף בָּא אֵלֶיךָ וַיִּתְחַזֵּק יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּשֶׁב עַל־הַמִּטָּה׃

3And Yaakov said to Yosef, “El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and He blessed me,

גוַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־יוֹסֵף אֵל שַׁדַּי נִרְאָה־אֵלַי בְּלוּז בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתִי׃

4and said to me, ‘I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a community of peoples; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession.'

va-YO-mer ay-LAI hi-n'-NEE maf-r'-KHA v'-hir-bee-TI-kha un-ta-TEE-kha lik-HAL a-MEEM v'-NA-ta-TEE et ha-A-retz ha-ZOT l'-zar-a-KHA a-kha-RE-kha a-khu-ZAT o-LAM

דוַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הִנְנִי מַפְרְךָ וְהִרְבִּיתִךָ וּנְתַתִּיךָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים וְנָתַתִּי אֶת־הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם׃

5Now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, shall be mine; Efraim and Menashe shall be mine no less than Reuven and Shimon.

הוְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי־בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד־בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי־הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵן וְשִׁמְעוֹן יִהְיוּ־לִי׃

6But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be recorded instead of their brothers in their inheritance.

ווּמוֹלַדְתְּךָ אֲשֶׁר־הוֹלַדְתָּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם לְךָ יִהְיוּ עַל שֵׁם אֲחֵיהֶם יִקָּרְאוּ בְּנַחֲלָתָם׃

7I [do this because], when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, while I was journeying in the land of Canaan, when still some distance short of Efrat; and I buried her there on the road to Efrat”—now Beit Lechem.

זוַאֲנִי בְּבֹאִי מִפַּדָּן מֵתָה עָלַי רָחֵל בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּעוֹד כִּבְרַת־אֶרֶץ לָבֹא אֶפְרָתָה וָאֶקְבְּרֶהָ שָּׁם בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָת הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם׃

8Noticing Yosef's sons, Yisrael asked, “Who are these?”

חוַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־בְּנֵי יוֹסֵף וַיֹּאמֶר מִי־אֵלֶּה׃

9And Yosef said to his father, “They are my sons, whom Hashem has given me here.” “Bring them up to me,” he said, “that I may bless them.”

טוַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל־אָבִיו בָּנַי הֵם אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן־לִי אֱלֹהִים בָּזֶה וַיֹּאמַר קָחֶם־נָא אֵלַי וַאֲבָרֲכֵם׃

10Now Yisrael's eyes were dim with age; he could not see. So [Yosef] brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them.

יוְעֵינֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּבְדוּ מִזֹּקֶן לֹא יוּכַל לִרְאוֹת וַיַּגֵּשׁ אֹתָם אֵלָיו וַיִּשַּׁק לָהֶם וַיְחַבֵּק לָהֶם׃

11And Yisrael said to Yosef, “I never expected to see you again, and here Hashem has let me see your children as well.”

יאוַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יוֹסֵף רְאֹה פָנֶיךָ לֹא פִלָּלְתִּי וְהִנֵּה הֶרְאָה אֹתִי אֱלֹהִים גַּם אֶת־זַרְעֶךָ׃

12Yosef then removed them from his knees, and bowed low with his face to the ground.

יבוַיּוֹצֵא יוֹסֵף אֹתָם מֵעִם בִּרְכָּיו וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְאַפָּיו אָרְצָה׃

13Yosef took the two of them, Efraim with his right hand—to Yisrael's left—and Menashe with his left hand—to Yisrael's right—and brought them close to him.

יגוַיִּקַּח יוֹסֵף אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם אֶת־אֶפְרַיִם בִּימִינוֹ מִשְּׂמֹאל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־מְנַשֶּׁה בִשְׂמֹאלוֹ מִימִין יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּגֵּשׁ אֵלָיו׃

14But Yisrael stretched out his right hand and laid it on Efraim's head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Menashe's head—thus crossing his hands—although Menashe was the first-born.

ידוַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל־רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר וְאֶת־שְׂמֹאלוֹ עַל־רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה שִׂכֵּל אֶת־יָדָיו כִּי מְנַשֶּׁה הַבְּכוֹר׃

15And he blessed Yosef, saying, “The Hashem in whose ways my fathers Avraham and Yitzchak walked, The Hashem who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day—

טווַיְבָרֶךְ אֶת־יוֹסֵף וַיֹּאמַר הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלְּכוּ אֲבֹתַי לְפָנָיו אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק הָאֱלֹהִים הָרֹעֶה אֹתִי מֵעוֹדִי עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

16The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm— the lads. In them may my name be recalled, And the names of my fathers Avraham and Yitzchak, And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.”

ha-mal-AKH ha-go-AYL o-TEE mi-kol RA y'-va-RAYKH et ha-n'-a-REEM v'-yi-ka-RAY va-HEM sh'-MEE v'-SHAYM a-vo-TAI av-ra-HAM v'-yitz-KHAK v'-yid-GU la-ROV b'-KE-rev ha-A-retz

טזהַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל־רָע יְבָרֵךְ אֶת־הַנְּעָרִים וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי וְשֵׁם אֲבֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ׃

 48:16   May my name be recalled

The Hebrew word for ‘name’ is shem (שם). The great master of the Hebrew language, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, explains that the word shem is related to the word sham (שם), meaning ‘there.’ Rabbi Hirsch explains that by naming and defining something, one puts it in its proper ‘place.’ Here, Yaakov blesses his grandsons Efraim and Menashe, by placing their ancestors’ names upon them, thereby establishing their ‘place’ within the spiritual legacy of their forbears.

17When Yosef saw that his father was placing his right hand on Efraim's head, he thought it wrong; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Efraim's head to Menashe's.

יזוַיַּרְא יוֹסֵף כִּי־יָשִׁית אָבִיו יַד־יְמִינוֹ עַל־רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וַיֵּרַע בְּעֵינָיו וַיִּתְמֹךְ יַד־אָבִיו לְהָסִיר אֹתָהּ מֵעַל רֹאשׁ־אֶפְרַיִם עַל־רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה׃

18“Not so, Father,” Yosef said to his father, “for the other is the first-born; place your right hand on his head.”

יחוַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל־אָבִיו לֹא־כֵן אָבִי כִּי־זֶה הַבְּכֹר שִׂים יְמִינְךָ עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ׃

19But his father objected, saying, “I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.”

יטוַיְמָאֵן אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר יָדַעְתִּי בְנִי יָדַעְתִּי גַּם־הוּא יִהְיֶה־לְּעָם וְגַם־הוּא יִגְדָּל וְאוּלָם אָחִיו הַקָּטֹן יִגְדַּל מִמֶּנּוּ וְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא־הַגּוֹיִם׃

20So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you shall Yisrael invoke blessings, saying: Hashem make you like Efraim and Menashe.” Thus he put Efraim before Menashe.

vai-VA-r'-KHAYM ba-YOM ha-HU lay-MOR b'-KHA y'-va-RAYKH yis-ra-AYL lay-MOR y'-sim-KHA e-lo-HEEM k'-ef-RA-yim v'-khim-na-SHEH va-YA-sem et ef-RA-yim lif-NAY m'-na-SHEH

כוַיְבָרֲכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמוֹר בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־אֶפְרַיִם לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה׃

 48:20   By you shall Yisrael invoke blessings

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin (b. 1940)

As dictated by this verse, to this day Jewish parents bless their sons each Shabbat with the words, “May Hashem make you like Efraim and Menashe.” Out of all the biblical heroes possible to emulate, what is special about Efraim and Menashe? Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, explains that the two sons of Yosef play a very significant role in the formation of the Jewish people. They are the first of Avraham’s family to be born in Egypt, yet despite their physical disconnection from Eretz Yisrael, they remain loyal to the traditions of their ancestors. Efraim and Menashe, therefore, represent a key to the survival of the Jewish people and their return to Israel in the future. For this reason, they are chosen as special role models for the Children of Israel.

21Then Yisrael said to Yosef, “I am about to die; but Hashem will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.

כאוַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־יוֹסֵף הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מֵת וְהָיָה אֱלֹהִים עִמָּכֶם וְהֵשִׁיב אֶתְכֶם אֶל־אֶרֶץ אֲבֹתֵיכֶם׃

22And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

כבוַאֲנִי נָתַתִּי לְךָ שְׁכֶם אַחַד עַל־אַחֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר לָקַחְתִּי מִיַּד הָאֱמֹרִי בְּחַרְבִּי וּבְקַשְׁתִּי׃