Whilst sitting on the underground on a recent trip to England, I was privileged to witness a tragic comedy. Sitting across the aisle was an unlikely pair; a corporate looking, pinstriped, middle aged father with his hip-hop, gangster style dressed son. The father using his initiative, was painfully groping for common ground in conversation, and quite frankly doing miserably. Sports talk swiftly turned to music and music to politics as the stations whizzed by. Sadly a grunt was the only audible response from his MTV influenced prodigy, engrossed in his portable play station. I watched as quality time rapidly developed into a nightmare as the monologue endured. As the train pulled into Euston Station, an automated voice aptly yet insensitively described the cheerless situation by announcing; “mind the gap!”

If it's any consolation the “generation gap dilemma” is nothing new, it was recognized early on by our forefather Yackov. Even while sitting on his deathbed, Yackov composed the ultimate, blessing used ever since, by parents; “By you shall Israel bless saying, ‘May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe.’”(Bereishit 48:20)

The question begs; why are Efraim and Menashe chosen to be placed on the pedestal as the prime example and ultimately the crux of Yackov’s blessing more than of his other illustrious offspring?

Our sages explain that although the other tribes were great, the sons of Yosef had a unique quality that Yackov recognized as our greatest hope for the future. Their distinction was apparent in as much that they where the nephews of the other tribes, their levels of piety and wisdom matched the same heights as the older generation. As Yackov states elsewhere “Efraim and Menashe shall be mine like Reuven and Shimon.” (Berishit 48:5) In other words Efraim and Menashe presented a situation of no moral decline – i.e. no generation gap.

Although we are privileged to see today an unprecedented advancement in technology and science, at the same time we witness a swift, chaotic, downward spiral in morality and ethics. It is in these times that we pray that Yackov’s blessings, combined with the example of these inspiring men will land us and our future generations firmly to step on the platform.

Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Sipper is a close friend of ShortVort.com. Further divrei Torah from the Rov can be found on his yeshiva's website at www.ohravraham.com

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