Genesis 47:27-50 In the Bible, Ephraim and Menasseh are the only two brothers who got along. This marks a turning point for the Israelites. After sibling rivalries of Jacob and Esau and Joseph and his many brothers, Ephraim and Menasseh represent that brothers can get along peaceably. This may also be a reason why Menasseh and Ephraim’s names are invoked in the traditional blessing over sons recited on Friday nights. They should be models for all brothers and sisters.
Genesis 48:20 “So he blessed them that day, saying, ‘by you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’”
This final parsha in Genesis is touching because each blessing Jacob bestows emphasizes his sons’ individuality and unique character. This can be used as a model for how we see each person-that everyone has something special to bring. This humanity may be hard to see in a homeless person who mumbles as she walks down the street, or the hungry man who comes for a meal at the soup kitchen. Every person has a story — and each of us deserve to be seen as the individuals that we are.
What it Means for Advocates:
Jewish tradition teaches that even the person who receives tzedakah should offer tzedakah, for we never know when our fortune may be reversed and we may end up on the receiving end of another’s generosity. Go to a soup kitchen or a food pantry to volunteer and, if the clients allow, listen to their stories and hear first hand how they came to be in their current predicament.