A Hasidic Teaching Pertinent to Brit-Am
Extracts and Explanations from the Malbim.
12 So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn.
Jacob stretched out his right hand placing it on the head of Ephraim. After that he placed his left hand on the head of Manasseh [crossing his arms].
The left arm was above the right one.
"guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn", ...he placed his left arm on top showing that he knew Manasseh was the first-born...
Manasseh does not receive the plenitude of his blessing through Ephraim but rather via a conduit of his own. This is why the left arm was placed over the right one.
15 And he blessed Joseph, and said:
'God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.'
...Ephraim was blessed with the right hand. The right side always indicates miraculous intervention of the Almighty.
The Right Hand of the Almighty works wonders beyond the way of nature.
Manasseh was blessed with the left hand which indicates blessing through natural means.
Both the blessings and the two means by which God rules the world will bring benefaction to Ephraim and Manasseh until their seed becomes a multitude in the midst of the earth.
The greatness of Ephraim will be through quality.
Manasseh will become great through quantity.
Concerning quality it sometimes happens that one man is worth an entire nation. This is a characteristic of Ephraim.
The blessing of Ephraim was to come into effect immediately.
On the other hand the blessing of Manasseh would have to wait until his population grew to a multitudinous number, until he should increase and multiply and grow into a great nation.
17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, 'Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.'
19 But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.'
The time of Manasseh would have to wait until "He also shall become a people" and then "he also shall be great"..
"But truly his younger brother shall be greater than he" means that Ephraim was to become great by his own merit and not due to his large population.
"And his descendants shall become a multitude of nations" in Hebrew is "zaro yihyae malay ha-Goyim" literally "His seed will be full of the Nations".
The Malbim interprets this to mean that from his seed will come one (such as Joshua the son of Nun and successor to Moses) who will be worth as much as many peoples.
20 So he blessed them that day, saying, 'By you Israel will bless, saying, 'May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!'' And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
The Malbim opines that "he set Ephraim before Manasseh" also indicates (apart from its other meanings) that Ephraim would be great before Manasseh.
1 And Jacob called his sons and said, 'Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:
2 Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father.
The expression "Gather together" occurs twice in the above verses.
In the Hebrew the word translated as "Gather together" in Genesis 49:1 is Ha-Asfu which the Malbim understands as indicating "unite, become one".
In Genesis 49:2 the word "HiKabtsu" which the Malbim understands as indicating "gather in".
He understands that "HiKabtsu" i.e. "gather in" will come first and then "Ha-Asfu" i.e. "unite, become one".
This is despite the words appearing in reverse order in the two verses.
...Complete Redemption is impossible until they unite and become one nation.
The Midrash says "Ha-Asfu" i.e. "unite, become one" with the Ten Tribes and "HiKabtsu" i.e. "gather in" with Judah and Benjamin.
12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble [Hebrew: "ve-asaf"] the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together [Hebrew: "YiKabets"] the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
The Malbim says:
#I explained in my commentary on the above verse (Isaiah 11:12) that the Ten Tribes are not scattered only outcast [Hebrew: "nidach" meaning outcast or driven out] to where we know not and only need to be gathered in.
The Tribes of Judah and Benjamin [i.e. the present-day Jews] are scattered to the four corners of the earth. They are not outcast since their location is known.
They need to be united...
# It has become quite clear to me that everywhere in Scripture where the Ten Tribes are spoken of as contraposed to Judah that Judah is referred to as Israel as opposed to the Ten Tribes who are called Jacob #.