“וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵן וְשִׁמְעוֹן יִהְיוּ לִי”
“And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Shimeon are.”
Menashe and Ephraim were born to Joseph in the exile of Egypt. Now Joseph brought them to his father, Jacob to receive blessings. Jacob knew that all his children will go through a difficult process in exile until they return home to the Promised Land. He ‘adopted’ Menashe and Ephraim as his own sons, Reuben and Shimon. Jacob disconnected them from the aspect of being born in exile. In addition, He’s blessings and action connected Ephraim and Menashe to their uncles to make the twelve tribes.
Rabbi Aba explains the bigger picture of Jacob’s words and blessings. The hard labor in Egypt represents the entire exile process that the Israelites will go through until the final redemption and reaching the ‘Promised Land’. At that time, the whole world would recognize the Holy One Blessed Be He and bring offerings to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
“וְהֵבִיאוּ אֶת כָּל אֲחֵיכֶם מִכָּל הַגּוֹיִם מִנְחָה לַיהוָה בַּסּוּסִים וּבָרֶכֶב וּבַצַּבִּים וּבַפְּרָדִים וּבַכִּרְכָּרוֹת עַל הַר קָדְשִׁי יְרוּשָׁלִַם אָמַר יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר יָבִיאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַמִּנְחָה בִּכְלִי טָהוֹר בֵּית יְהוָה”
“And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to YHVH, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says YHVH, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of YHVH.”
“וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים נָכוֹן יִהְיֶה הַר בֵּית יְהוָה בְּרֹאשׁ הֶהָרִים וְנִשָּׂא מִגְּבָעוֹת וְנָהֲרוּ אֵלָיו כָּל הַגּוֹיִם”
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of YHVH shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it.”
Jacob didn’t include Joseph as one of the 12 tribes. Jacob didn’t bury Rachel, his wife, in the Cave of the Machpelah, like Abraham and Isaac did for their wives. Rachel was buried on the side of the road, seemingly as if she is lesser than the others.
Jacob, as the chariot for the central column knew the entire system and the role of each of his children in the future. He knew that Joseph would control the sefirah of Yessod and the gate of light from Zeir Anpin to the world. Jacob made special garments for Joseph’s protection when he was young (Genesis 37:3) so he can fulfill his mission and establish the connection to Malchut. Rachel wasn’t brought to the Cave of the Machpelah because she is our protector during the exile and needed to be ‘outside’, accessible to all. She would be the first one to welcome Mashiach on his way to Jerusalem.
We are still in Egypt but we have a ‘shepherd’ that is the Zohar, preparing us for the ‘Exodus’ that is the Final Redemption. Then we will see the thunder and lightning and hear the trumpet (Exodus 20:18) as the great light of Immortality appears in Malchut Then we will be like dreamers (Psalms 126:1), waking up with singing and joy and the rest of the world will follow.
We are blessed to have this gift of study, preparing and expanding our vessel for that glorious moment of revelation and raising up to immortality. The joy and rewards would be according to the size of each vessel and its purity.