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  Parashas Vayechi from
Darash Moshe I
A selection of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's choice comments on the Torah.

By Rabbi Moshe Feinstein  Rabbi Avrohom Yoseif Rosenberg  Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Klugman  Pinchos Osher Rohr 


Other Available Chapters
Parashas Devarim 
Parashas Ki Seitzei 
Parash Ki Savo 
Parashas Terumah 
Parashas Vayikra 


Parashas Vayechi

And now, your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before my coming to you in Egypt shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine like Reuben and Simeon. But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be included under the name of their brothers (48:5-6).

    And now, your two sons who were born to you in the land of Egypt before my coming to you in Egypt shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine like Reuben and Simeon. But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be included under the name of their brothers (48:5-6). Jacob's reasoning here is highly puzzling: Why should Joseph's sons born before Jacob's arrival in Egypt be considered Jacob's, while his later-born sons would belong to Joseph? The opposite would seem to make more sense, that those born to Joseph when he was alone in Egypt should belong to him, while the ones who grew up under their grandfather's guidance should belong to Jacob.

    However, we can understand Jacob's claim as a profound lesson in the education a father is required to give his son, or a teacher his student. The responsibility to train children and students in the ways of Torah applies not only while they are at home or in the confines of the beis medrash, when they are relatively receptive to education. A parent or teacher must make sure his charges' training is so firmly rooted that they will continue solidly in the ways they have learned even when they are far away from the father or the rebbe, in distant lands among pagans and atheists. They must strive to equal the training Joseph received from Jacob, a training so fundamental that wherever he went, Joseph saw his father's image before him guiding him in his way, a training so powerful that under its influence Joseph raised the two sons born to him in Egypt to follow in his father's footsteps as if they had been raised by Jacob and not by their father, Joseph.

    This is why Jacob claimed them as his own children, as much as Reuben and Simeon. Any later children born to Joseph after Jacob's arrival in Egypt would grow up in the Torah environment created by their uncles and cousins, and thus the impact of Jacob's greatness as seen through his chinuch to Joseph would not be as readily discernible as it was in Ephraim and Manasseh. Therefore he had no claim on them.

 
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