Vayechi: What’s your greatest blessing?
What’s the greatest blessing one can have? Parshat Vayechi is the parsha of blessings. At the conclusion of Sefer Bereishit, Jacob gives blessings to his sons in Egypt. Before he does this, Jacob summons his grandchildren Ephraim and Menashe, children of his son Joseph, for them to receive a bracha, but how does he commence that blessing?
The Torah (Bereishit 48:15) says,
“Vayevarech et Yosef vayomar,” – “And he blessed Joseph and he said,” meaning that he blessed Joseph by giving this blessing to Joseph’s children. It doesn’t make sense. Surely the Torah should have said,
“Vayevarech otam vayomer,” – “He blessed them and he said,” meaning Ephraim and Menashe. He didn’t bless Joseph – he blessed Joseph’s children.
The Shlah haKadosh explains that the greatest blessing for a person is when they know that their children are blessed. So therefore when Jacob was blessing his grandchildren, it was a bracha, a blessing for his son, Yosef.
So often parents tell me that all they want in life is to know that their children are happy; their children are content; their children are healthy and fulfilled in life. But there is a blessing which is even greater than this.
In Parshat Vayeira (Bereishit 22:18) Hashem says to Avraham,
“Vehitbarchu vezarecha kol goyei ha’aretz.” – “Through your descendents may all nations on earth be blessed.” That’s the greatest bracha – that we know, not just that our children are well and healthy, but that through their actions, other people are being blessed. When our descendents are a blessing for others, that’s the greatest blessing for us.
May Hashem bless each and every one of us so that our children and grandchildren, together with all those upon whom we have an impact, will be fulfilled and content and healthy in life, but more than that: may all those over whom we have an influence be a true blessing to all others.
To receive weekly insights directly from the Chief Rabbi, subscribe using the form below.