The Basics of Judaism: Basic Values and Morality: The Importance of the First Born:
What is the importance of the first born?
The first born have been important since earliest times; Abel sacrificed
the first born of his flock (Gen.4:4), G-d smote the Egyptian first born
(Ex.11:4ff), and we are commanded to sanctify the first born of both
people and animals (Ex.13:1). But most of the key Biblical figures were
younger sons: Isaac, who was Ishmael's younger brother; Jacob, who was
Esau's younger (twin) brother; Joseph, who was Jacob's second youngest
son; and Ephrayim, who was Menasheh's younger brother (Gen.:48).
Apparently, in spite of the fact that the first born were traditionally
important, and they still require redemption and inherit a double portion
(Deut. 21:17), they often don't become the leaders.
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