Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Youth before Age (5772 Vayechi)

In Genesis on January 3, 2012 at 7:50 am

Younger grandchildren
Laugh and play. Older grandchildren
Read, Recite, Study.

1 Kings 2.1-2.12
Genesis 47.28-50.26

Why does Israel bless place his younger son before the older?

So he blessed them that day, saving, “By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying: God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. (Genesis 48.20)

Can we say Israel has put youth before age? This goes against conventional habit. Why has he done this?

What is youth? Curiosity? Creativity? Adventure? Fun? Mischief? Play? Impulsiveness? Immaturity? Risk? Imagination? What else is youth for you?

What is age? Patience? Stability? Honor? Responsibility? Work? Temperance? Maturity? Family? Success? Focus? Respect? What else is age for you?

Is it conventional wisdom that we are young before we get old. What happens when you have age without youth, or youth without age?

What about: we should bless our children in youth so that they’ll welcome blessing in old age? We should bless them in youth to make them used to feeling blessed?

Perhaps, as Solomon was raised to make himself a king at a young age, we should raise our children to make themselves leaders at a young age. What is an old enough age? I prefer: What is a young enough age? Does the parsha say: everyone starts somewhere. When should we start, ourselves?

So, is blessing by the younger son before the elder son more appropriate?

Does the parsha teach: younger children are closer to creation?


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