Two Minutes of Torah | Va-y’chi | Genesis 47:28–50:26

On his deathbed, Jacob gathers family around in his final effort to share a vision of the legacy he will leave. The gift from this week’s Torah portion standing out to me is that of blessing our children.

Jacob brings Ephraim and Menasheh, his grandchildren, in close and gives them a blessing. It is the model for what is carried out at many Shabbat and holiday tables to this very day. Traditionally, we share the priestly benediction for all children. Then, for our daughters we pray that they may carry on the best traits of our ancestors Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. For our sons we pray that they be like Ephraim and Menasheh, the first siblings in the Bible who didn’t fight with one another. Click HERE for further details on this ritual, including the liturgy.

For those already accustomed with this Tradition, please enjoy the reminder and insight that it comes from our parsha this week. For those just learning about the custom, I invite you to give it a try. And for all of us, let’s ask ourselves how we can make the most of this opportunity to share a blessing with the next generation, who we hope will carry on our Jewish legacy?

– Rabbi Kate Speizer

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