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Genesis Chapter 48 | Parsha: Va-yehi

1Some time afterward, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to see you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed.

3And Jacob said to Joseph, “El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and He blessed me, 4and said to me, ‘I will make you fertile and numerous, making of you a community of peoples; and I will assign this land to your offspring to come for an everlasting possession.’ 5Now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, shall be mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine no less than Reuben and Simeon. 6But progeny born to you after them shall be yours; they shall be recorded instead of their brothers in their inheritance. 7I [do this because], when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow, while I was journeying in the land of Canaan, when still some distance short of Ephrath; and I buried her there on the road to Ephrath”—now Bethlehem.

8Noticing Joseph’s sons, Israel asked, “Who are these?” 9And Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” “Bring them up to me,” he said, “that I may bless them.” 10Now Israel’s eyes were dim with age; he could not see. So [Joseph] brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see you again, and here God has let me see your children as well.”

12Joseph then removed them from his knees, and bowed low with his face to the ground. 13Joseph took the two of them, Ephraim with his right hand—to Israel’s left—and Manasseh with his left hand—to Israel’s right—and brought them close to him. 14But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head—thus crossing his hands—although Manasseh was the first-born. 15And he blessed Joseph, saying,
“The God in whose ways my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has been my shepherd from my birth to this day—

16The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm—
Bless the lads.
In them may my name be recalled,
And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
And may they be teeming multitudes upon the earth.”

17When Joseph saw that his father was placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought it wrong; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s. 18“Not so, Father,” Joseph said to his father, “for the other is the first-born; place your right hand on his head.” 19But his father objected, saying, “I know, my son, I know. He too shall become a people, and he too shall be great. Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations.” 20So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.

21Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.”

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