Daily Aliya for Vayechi, Sheni (2nd Aliya)
Aliya Summary: Joseph presents his two sons, placing Menashe, the firstborn, to Jacob’s right, and Ephraim to Jacob’s left. Jacob, who was nearly blind at this point, crossed his hands, placing his right – more prestigious – hand on Ephraim’s head. He blessed them: “May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land.”
Yaakov’s reference to fish in his blessings for Ephraim and Menashe (and for all Jewish children in perpetuity) is explained on at least two levels. Since fish are prolific, Yaakov was blessing his descendants that they should become a large nation. It is also known that the Ayin Hara (evil eye) has no hold over fish, and this too was part of his blessing. The connection between these two aspects is the phrase included in the blessing: “in the midst of the Land”. If you are among others that are prolific and share your views and goals, there is less change of someone with an evil eye casting a curse on you. Hence the importance of living in a Jewish community, not just for the support, but for the shared goals.