[Avodah] Menasheh and Efrayim, or Efrayim and Menasheh?

Akiva Miller kennethgmiller at juno.com
Mon Jan 7 18:57:44 PST 2013

Much is made of the fact that in Vaichi 48:14, Yaakov Avinu gives preference to Efraim by placing his right hand on Efraim's head. But I noticed that this comment might have been made earlier. 

In Vayigash 46:20, Yosef's children are listed by the Narrator as "Menasheh and Efrayim". Nothing unusual about that sequence; it is, after all, the order of their birth. So too, in Vaichi 48:1, Yosef brings his sons to Yaakov, and again they are listed by the Narrator: "Menasheh and Efrayim".

However, in 48:5, when Yaakov announces that each of these sons will be full-fledged shevatim, just like Reuven and Shimon, Yaakov Avinu refers to them as "Efrayim and Menasheh". This is nine pesukim earlier than 48:14, in which Yosef attempts to correct his father.

Chazal knew how the story ends, and I can't help but wonder... I did not notice any meforshim who noted the sequence of the names in pasuk 5. Why did they save their comments for pasuk 14, when they could have brought our attention to it back in pasuk 5?

Akiva Miller
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