Successful Child Raising

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 7/1/2020

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Successful Child Raising

The sons of Yosef, Menashe and Efraim, were raised in Mitzrayim. The Yalkut Yehuda says this is the reason why we give the Bracha ישמך אלה-ים כאפרים וכמנשה, may Hashem make you like Efraim and Menashe.[1] Not only were they the first ones to be raised in Galus but were also raised in Egyptian aristocracy. In spite of this they came out a success as they became Shevatim as it says אפרים ומנשה כראובן ושמעון.[2] In regard to Yosef it says ויהי איש מצליח,[3] he was successful. A deeper meaning is that he was successful in raising his kids even though they were brought up in Mitzrayim. This is hinted to in איש מצליח, as its initials areא  and מ, אפרים and  מנשה. 

 

Although both were born and raised in Mitzrayim, Efraim was worse off. When Menashe was born it says נשני...בית אבי, …all my father’s [4]household—his father, Yaakov’s house was in his memory when Menashe was born. This is in contrast to Efraim as he already felt like a settler and thanked Hashem that he became fruitful (הפרני) in Mitzrayim.[5] We also see this in their names. The people in Mitzrayim had their names similar to that of פרעה in that they contain some of his letters in their name. Some illustrations of this: שפרה, פועה פוטיפר,  צפנת פענח, (as this is what Yosef was called by Paroh). Analyzing the name מנשה we notice it doesn’t contain any of these letters. This is in contrast to the name אפרים.

  

 With this we can explain why Efraim was the one who learned with Yaakov[6] since Menashe knew Lashon Hakodesh as Rashi tells us that he was the translator when Yosef spoke with his brothers.[7] Menashe was brought up with more Kedusha than his brother. Hence, in ישמך אלה-ים כאפרים וכמנשה, Efraim is mentioned first. The fact that he came out good was even greater. Now we can have this meaning when we give this Bracha out on Friday night as we face challenges like never before in raising children.

Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.


[1] Breishis 48:20.

[2] With this we can grasp a deeper meaning in שלח תשלח את האם ואת הבנים תקח (Devarim 22:7). אם is an abbreviation for אפרים and מנשה who were sent into Galus and became בנים; Shevatim, sons of the Avos.

[3] Breishis 39:2.

[4] Breishis 41:51.

[5] 41:52.

[6] אמת ליעקב, Vayechi 48:5.

[7] Breishis 42:23, Rashi.


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