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Ephraim

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Joseph’s Sons

And now thy two sons, who were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, shall be mine.  And thy sons, that thou begettest after them, shall be thine; they shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.  And as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died unto me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some way to come unto Ephrath; and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath—the same is Beth-lehem.”  And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said: “Wherefrom are these?”   —Gen.  48:5-8 The above narrative in the Torah portion Vayechi is quite perplexing.  It starts with a shocking pronouncement by Jacob that [...]

Korach Disentangled

Korah the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehos, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dasan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav, and On the son of Peles, descendants of Reuven. (Num. 16:1) There is a curious aspect to the story of Korach’s rebellion. We can understand why Korach (Korah), being of the tribe of Levi, may have had a claim to the priesthood thus causing a rebellion against Moshe and Aaron HaKohen, the High Priest.  The Torah tells us, however, that some Reubenites, i.e., members of the tribe of Reuven, got entangled with the followers of Korach in this rebellion as well.  But what did they have to do with it?  Not being descendants of Levi, they surely had no claim on the priesthood!  Why did they [...]