Yosef’s Bracha by Yanky Krinsky


In Parashat Vayechi Yaakov Avinu confers brachot to all of his children and Yosef’s two sons.  When Yosef brings his children before his father, Yaakov asks, “Mi eileh” “Who are these? (BeReishit 48:8).”  Why doesn’t the Torah clarify that Yaakov knew that Yosef’s sons were Yaakov’s grandchildren?  After his question, Yaakov proceeds to give the famous bracha, “HaMalach HaGoel Oti…” “The angel that protected me... (48:16).” At first, this bracha seems to be intended for Ephraim and Menashe, but it is apparent, based on the wording of the pasuk, that the bracha is intende  for Yosef.  If Yosef already received a bracha from Yaakov, then why does Yaakov give another bracha later to Yosef?  Also, in past perakim, the other brachot were specific to the recipient. What makes Yosef so different to receive such a generic bracha, “haMalach haGoel...”

The answers lie in Rashi’s interpretation of the word “haMalach.”  Rashi explains that Yaakov referred to Yosef’s protecting angel, the angel of Galut, on the way to Lavan’s house. Yaakov realized that Yosef had built character in Galut and had raised sons in Galut.  Yaakov wanted to make sure that his grandchildren were raised properly, so he asks Yosef, “Mi Eileh,” interpreted as Yaakov’s questioning Yosef upon the upbringing of his sons.  Therefore, Yosef receives a bracha that was very specific to him, that Yosef should be protected in Galut. Yosef, an important figure, needed this bracha because he walked around with “a target on his back,” being blamed if something under his watch would go wrong. Yosef’s biblical example of a protective bracha can teach that Jewish power in Galut will never affect the fact that we will always be targets in Galut.

Thigh Swear by Marc Poleyoff

Now I Know by Rabbi Joel Grossman