Imprisoned By Success
It seems that being imprisoned by success may be worse than actual imprisonment. Just like surviving the forces of assimilation may be tougher on the Jewish soul than dealing with physical enemies since when our spirit is under attack the very essence of our national survival is under attack as opposed to the individual bodies of those suffering.
Yaakov's life in Egypt begins with a closed Torah portion indicating that when the slavery began, the eyes and hearts of our people were closed. Yet, it was many decades before the slavery began; it didn't begin until after the death of the last of Yaakov's sons.
Nevertheless, as soon as Yaakov arrived, the abundance of Egypt was prevalent and every ounce of spiritual strength was necessary to prevent assimilation. The eyes and hearts of Israel were closed from day one, too.
That's why Ephraim and Menashe, who had survived in exile, during abundance, needed to be the role models for all of Israel for survival in exile during the time of abundance.
"Yaakov lived... May G-d make you like Ephraim and Menashe." Genesis 47:28 & 48:20, from this week's Torah portion, Vayechi 47:28-50:26
*Based, in part, on Rav Wolbe