I’ve noticed in a lot of houses the father and or mother bench the children Friday night. By the boys they bench them to be like Menashe and Efraim, and by the girls, they bench them to be like the Eimahos. In my house my parents don’t bench us, but I think it’s a truly special thing, for parents to do.
Something to Say:
By you shall Israel bless, saying “May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh” (48:20).
Why did Jacob want his future descendants to bless their children with the example of Ephraim and Manasseh, of all the tribes? One explanation of the Sages is that Joseph’s two sons exemplified a fundamental principle of the Torah: There was no competition between them, and neither considered himself greater than his brother.
Although Jacob set Ephraim, the younger son, above Manasseh, the firstborn, Manasseh was not jealous and Ephraim did not become arrogant. Their perception of truth and of each other’s value was solid; pretensions and rivalry were far beneath them. Each had a deep and authentic respect for the other, and a feeling of happiness in the other’s success. Each performed his individual goal, harmonizing with his brother’s contribution to create a unique symphony of Divine Service.
Jacob, therefore, expressed the hope that all of his children in generations to come would behave as desirably. He created a tradition that this blessing would be given by Jewish parents to their children throughout history.
Now this explanation I have never heard before and I thought it was beautiful. What a befitting blessing for a parent to give children. Siblings who usually fight and don’t get along get this blessing to be like Menashe and Efraim and to have no competition or sibling Rivalry.