The most famous parental blessing is found in this week’s Torah portion: “May G‑d bless you to be like Ephraim and Menashe.” Jacob proclaims that this blessing be the paradigm for all future generations: “With your names shall all of Israel be blessed.”

One cannot help but wonder why Jacob chooses a blessing for posterity that is connected to the names of his grandchildren, not his children. Furthermore, why not bless Jewish children to be like himself or his righteous parents and grandparents?

Jacob, the great prophet and patriarch of the Jewish people, saw all the future generations, including ours. He envisioned a challenging time like ours, when role models like himself would be scarce, and the forces of assimilation and secularism would be rampant.

Addressing the challenges of our generation, Jacob encourages parents, “You must bless your children to be like my own grandchildren, Ephraim and Menashe, who unlike their parents and grandparents before them, grew up in the land of Egypt, exposed to a very foreign culture. Despite this and despite never seeing their Jewish family until much later in their life, they still managed to grow up faithful to their family’s values and lifestyle!”

Because of the similarities between his grandchildren and the children of our generation, he encourages the parents of our generation to bless their children to follow the example of Ephraim and Menashe, as opposed to the other famous biblical heroes. Jacob is affirming that regardless of the colossal challenges facing them, our children can successfully achieve a beautiful connection to their families and traditions.