Drash Cards for VaYechi (5761)
by Marc Mangel
• Remember Tevya’s dream (at least in the musical), with Gramma and Tzeitel and a blessing on your head. Keep that in mind as we go forward
• In this parsha Jacob dies at 147, after blessing his sons and grandsons, and is buried in Canaan. Joseph dies at 110.
• The blessings begin (Ch 47, v15) with recognition of differences in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
• Ch 48, v 20 pertains to the blessings of our children. Why Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah is obvious. But why Ephraim and Menassah is not so obvious. And why Ephraim before Menassah?
• The lineages are these: Joshua descends from Ephraim; he is consistent and steady. Gideon descends from Menassah; he appears in a flash, does a great thing, and disappears. Combining them: May you — our children — be a combination of consistency and great heroic achievement.
• Ephraim and Menassah are children raised in the galut but identify with Jacob. May you — our children — be Jewish for your grandparents.
• The Chazal say that Ephraim focussed on Torah study and Menassah on being involved in the world. May you — our children — be deeply involved in this world but never forget the spiritual one.
• Now why Ephraim before Menassah? Hirsch says that this is rejection of the cult of the first born, who generally has material but no ethical or moral superiority to the subsequent children.
• By crossing his hands, Jacob does not reject Manasseh, but reordered and thus shared the blessing (compare the situation with Jacob and Esau.
• The blessing of the sons is really prophecy, but that’s a later drash