Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blessing with warmth


When Yaakov wants to bless Yosef's children (Parshat Vayyichi), Ephraim and Menasheh, he has Yosef bring them before him. He then asks, "Who are these children?" To which Yosef replies, "They are my children."

Does Yaakov not realize who Yosef has brought to him for a blessing?

Ohr haChaim, R' Chaim Ibn Attar, suggested that this exchange between Yaakov and Yosef is really about the berachah (blessing) itself. In order to truly bless someone, in order to pray to Gd on that person's behalf, one must know that person and feel emotionally connected to him.

Yaakov knows who Ephraim and Menasheh are, but he wants to feel that emotional warmth - and so he asks Yosef who they are, in order to hear Yosef's proud, paternal, emotion-charged "These are my children," which will then inspire a truly meaningful berachah.

Have a great day,

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