Vayechi - Genesis 47:27-50:26
When Jacob was old, sick and dying, his son Joseph came with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, so that Jacob might bless them.
Blessing only flows to those who want to be blessed. Joseph didn’t neglect this technology; he knew that his children could be empowered by his father’s words.
In Genesis 48:16 Jacob says: "The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the children, let my name be named on them and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."
What a secret! Jacob is invoking the blessings upon his grandchildren in the name of Hamalach hagoel oti (“the angel who redeemed me”)! A unique angel, with authority to bless and redeem him, changed his name.
Joseph, however, was still anxious. When Jacob reached out to touch the boys, he crossed his arms so that his right hand was on Ephraim. Ephraim was the youngest and Joseph felt that Jacob's right hand should have been on Manasseh, the oldest. He tried to move his father's hands.
We do the same! We are always trying to move our father’s hands. God is not anxious like us. God doesn't need to keep us anxious in order to establish his power.
Jacob refused to change his hands. He intended to bless Ephraim, the youngest, with his right hand so that Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh.
It was the right time, the right moment, and the right person to bless them. We have to learn to enjoy the moments and the timing to celebrate life. The Jewish people understand this principle very well. The blessings that we give to Jewish children before they go to sleep each night, as well as the blessings of the children at the Shabbat table, are the very same words today!
Special words for special moments!
We have to learn to celebrate these moments! Every celebration is actually a way to give meaning to an occasion. In other words, we make something meaningful; we create the celebrations and we do that in order to remind us about something special in our life!
Anxiety is a mental state generated within us in the expectation of something that happens in our favor. When this expectation is not fulfilled, we miss the opportunity to celebrate the blessings that God already provided us. We have to understand that life itself is miracle enough.
Lewis Carroll’s celebrated classic about the story of Alice in Wonderland addresses this issue well.
Alice meets a strange character, the Mad Hatter. This character was a man who fought against time. His watch tells the day of month, but not the hour of the day, and therefore it was always tea time. When Alice appeared, he was singing, laughing, and celebrating with his friends while holding on to a teapot made from fine porcelain. She interrupted the event and apologized for having invaded that birthday tea party.
The Mad Hatter laughed and said that it was not a birthday, but rather an “unbirthday.” For him, today was the priority. In his opinion, there is only one day during the year in which you celebrate your birthday. Therefore, the other 364 days are “unbirthdays” and those days are special and unique too! His happiness was much greater because he calculated happiness based on the “unbirthdays.”
We have to learn how to celebrate life by empowering our children and blessing them. We cannot miss an opportunity! Using Jacob’s technology, we should bless our kids using his words: “God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh” (Genesis 48:20).
Every blessing is unique because every day is a different and special day. Life is about making every day a special day. A day to bless and be blessed.