Parashat Vayechi: Why Efraim and Menashe?

[Tal Chermon based on Me'eina Shel Torah p. 208 in the name of Igra De-Kallah]

Yaakov Avinu blessed his grandsons: "He blessed them on that day, saying: Israel will be blessed through you, saying: May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe" (Bereshit 48:20). When we bless girls on Shabbat evening, we say: "May G-d make you like Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah," but we do not blessed our boys: May G-d make you like Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov." Instead we quote Yaakov: "May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe." Why is Israel specially blessed through Efraim and Menashe?

A fundamental principle of the Torah is that a person should not be arrogant and should not be envious of others. When Yaakov Avinu saw that even though he maneuvered his hands to place the younger Efraim before Menashe, the first born, Efraim was not overtaken by arrogance, nor was Menashe stricken with envy. Yaakov Avinu therefore said: All of Israel should be this way, without arrogance and without envy. Unfortunately, we see that this was not the case among the other brothers: "And his brothers were jealous of him [Yosef]" (Bereshit 37:11). Yaakov Avinu therefore blessed them and we follow in their footsteps: "May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe."