Earning the Blessing

Yitzchak was at the end of his days and he wanted to bless Esav, his oldest son. He commanded Esav to go out to the field and hunt game to make his favorite delicacies so that “his soul may bless him”. Rivkah overheard and contrived a plan for Yaakov to intercept the blessing by posing as Esav. She prepared delicacies as Yitzchak loved from two kid goats of their flock that she had Yaakov fetch. She then disguised Yaakov in the clothing of Esav and covered his arms and neck with the skin of the goats. Yaakov proceeded since his mother coerced him and went to Yitzchak to serve him the food and receive the blessing. Yitzchak was skeptical at first, but after feeling the hair on Yaakov’s arms and smelling the aroma of the field on his clothing he was certain enough to give Yaakov the blessing.

When Esav returned from the field and discovered that Yaakov had received his blessing, he was livid. He plotted to kill him after the death of their father. Rivkah found out and sent Yaakov away to the house of Lavan, her brother, until Esav’s wrath would subside.

Upon taking a close look at other blessings in the Torah it becomes evident that blessings are tailor-made for the recipient. This is most clearly demonstrated in the blessings Yaakov gave each one of his twelve sons before his death.

This becomes problematic for Yaakov because even though he dressed up as his brother and says to Yitzchak,  “It is I, Esav your firstborn”, he still lacked the nature of Esav his brother for whom the blessing was intended. Esav was “a man of the field, hunting game” while Yaakov was “a wholesome man, abiding in tents.”  A blessing can only be actualized if it is received by the proper recipient. When Yitzchak blessed Yaakov with Esav’s blessing he said, “Please come closer and kiss me, my son.” He came close, and Yitzchak kissed him, and he smelled the fragrance of his garments, and he blessed him, and he said, “Behold, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field, which the Lord has blessed!” Yitzchak then proceeds to give Yaakov the blessing he intended for Esav.

And may the Lord give you of the dew of the heavens and [of] the fatness of the earth and an abundance of grain and wine.

Nations shall serve you and kingdoms shall bow down to you; you shall be a master over your brothers, and your mother’s sons shall bow down to you. Those who curse you shall be cursed, and those who bless you shall be blessed.

The blessing Yitzchak gave to Yaakov was predicated on the nature of Esav being a “man of the field”, which Yaakov clearly was not. In order for Yaakov to be a proper vessel to receive this blessing, he had to become worthy by having that aspect of Esav’s personality incorporated into his own. Consequently, it was a cosmic necessity that Yaakov dwell with Lavan where he suffered many years of abuse and deceit. This led to the metamorphosis of Yaakov from the unassuming, simple man of the tent into a man of the field with the capacity to be cunning when necessary.

Once Yaakov had inculcated the personality traits necessary to receive the blessing, G-d told him to leave Lavan’s house. He was then able to encounter Esav and fulfill his destiny as foretold by Yitzchak.

At times we envy others, believing we are more worthy or capable than they are to handle their blessings. Everyone has different tools and are given blessings accordingly.  If we try and take what does not belong to us we might be pushed out of our comfort zone and forced to wear their shoes which can be a hell of a lot harder than it looks.

So let’s be happy with what we have, do the best we can in earnest and pray G-d will indeed bless us in accordance with who we are.

About the Author
Aliza Lipkin is a firm lover and believer in her country, her people and her G-d. She moved from the land of the free (America) to the home of the brave (Israel) 10 years ago and now resides with her family in Maaleh Adumim.
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