Question: What is the importance of the first born?
Answer: 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.
All the Best,
Rabbi Azriel Schreiber