This week we are privileged to read the portion Vayechi, the final portion of the first book - Bireishis (Genesis). The portion begins with the count of Yaakov's life, specifically, the last 17 years, which he spent in Egypt, after reuniting with his beloved son, Yosef.
Yaakov requested of Yosef that he bury him in Israel, next to his ancestors (in Chevron). Later Yaakov blessed Yosef's children and placed Ephraim, the younger one, before Menashe, who was older. He also announced that they are just as Reuven and Shimon, tribes of their own. Thereafter, Yaakov gathered all his children and gave them his final blessings, to each individually. Yaakov passes on and Yosef and the brothers bury him in Chevron. The brothers fare that Yosef will take revenge, Yosef assures them once again that he bares no grudge and it's all from Hashem.
Yaakov blesses the children with the famous blessing which we recite every night before we go to rest, hamalach hagoel. Yaakov blesses them that be called by his name, and the of his forefathers Avrohom and Yitzchok, and they shall multiply like fish. The word "veyidgu" larov - which means they should multiply to many. The term is meant, that they be shielded from a bad eye (Ayin hora), like fish that are out of sight, and therefore a bad eye cannot reach them.
The Ksav Sofer explains the sequence of the blessing as follows. It is understood that the daughter of a king will marry someone from a prominent family and/or certainly someone who has stature himself. A beggar's son doesn't get jealous of that young man, because he knows he's not in that league. So too it is in all areas of life jealousy usually occurs between two people on the same level, however, if one is on a higher level it is less common for jealousy and envy.
So too, explains the Ksav Sofer, the blessing to us is that we should always be worthy of being labeled the children of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov, which puts is in a different league. That ultimately will spare us from a bad eye.
Let us always remember to act as children of our holy Patriarchs thereby commanding respect and honor instead of jealousy and envy.
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