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    My children’s blessings – Vayyechi

    Jacob blessing his sons, from the 1728 Figures de la Bible

    Chapter 49 of B’reshit gives us Jacob’s blessings of his children.

    Ibn Ezra remarks that the chapter really gives us an assessment of each child and an indication of their future.

    He adds that each child also received a blessing, as indicated in verse 28, though the actual wording of the blessings is not recorded.

    We could try to reconstruct the various blessings on the basis of what we know Jacob thought about every child. It would be a fascinating and useful exercise.

    Those who have experience as parents can testify that over the years they get to know their children so well that though, like Jacob, they might not specifically spell out the blessing they pray that their child will receive from life, it would not be a general, “motherhood” type of blessing but one which reflects who the child is and where they are going.

    Of course it is true that there is a traditional blessing for Shabbat which prays that sons may be like Ephraim and Manasseh and daughters like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, but the parent knows that a son may turn out to be an Ephraim rather than a Manasseh and a daughter may be a Sarah rather than a Rebekah, a Rachel rather than a Leah.

    We know that children often fall out because one received a greater y’rushah than another, and in monetary terms it is probably unwise for parents to make this distinction, but when it comes to the spiritual and emotional endowment that comes from a parent, a wise child will see that everyone is different and even twins like Esau and Jacob had different destinies in store for them.

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