48:20 contains the famous blessing Yaakov gave to Yosef’s sons - a blessing that many people have the custom to give to their children on Friday night; ‘yesimcha Elokim k’efrayim u’chimenashe.’ Why do we give these blessings to our children - why do we not bless our children that they should be like the Avos or like any of the other tribes? One idea is that Efraim and Menashe were unique in that they had shalom between them. Every one of the Avos had to live through some form of sibling rivalry and ‘family issues’ - Avraham with his idolatrous father Terach and then with Lot his nephew. Similarly, Yitzchak had to deal with Yishma’el, and Yaakov had to worry about Eisav and then Lavan. Moreover, Yaakov’s sons sold Yosef into slavery. T

herefore, Efraim and Menashe were the first generation to have serenity and peace at home. This is what we bless our children with - that they should live with constant shalom and without any family feuds or bickering. Another idea here is that Efrayim and Menashe grew from being ‘mere sons of Yosef’ to being tribes in their own right.

Thus, we bless our children that they should grow into being more than is expected of them - that they should (spiritually) grow out of proportion!

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