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Ephraim & Manasseh

The Bible’s Blind Old Men

The patriarchs Isaac and Jacob are both described as blind from old age when they give blessings to the next generations. Eli the priest and Ahijah the prophet are also blind. How did the biblical authors use disability as a narrative device?


Eric J. Harvey



Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

An enormous ancient altar from the early twelfth-century B.C.E., uncovered at the site of El-Burnat, sheds light on the biblical account of Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal as well as on the famous story of Jacob crossing his arms to bless Ephraim over Manasseh with the birthright.

Zvi Koenigsberg



When Moses Placed Ephraim Before Manasseh

The Torah informs us that when Jacob blessed Joseph's two sons, “he placed Ephraim before Manasseh” (Genesis 48:20b). Surprisingly, the late 12th century sage, R. Judah HeḤasid, asserts that this refers to Moses putting the tribe of Ephraim before that of Manasseh in the tribal listings (Numbers 2:18-21), leading R. Judah to conclude that the phrase must have been added later, and not by Moses.


Baruch J. Schwartz



Jacob’s Multiple Death Scenes

Bringing Parashat Vayechi to Life

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber



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