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The Spiritual Road to Material Riches (Toldot)

Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.  –Napoleon Bonaparte

In one of the more dramatic scenes in the Torah, Jacob disguises himself to appear more like his hairy twin brother Esau, in order to receive the blessing that their blind father Isaac had originally intended for Esau. It seems that Jacob is successful and manages to convince an initially suspicious Isaac, that it is indeed the son who should receive this primal blessing standing in front of him, hairy arms and all.

Isaac proceeds to bestow a short but powerful blessing upon the disguised Jacob. The blessing is as follows:

“May God give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, abundance of new grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow to you; be master over your brothers and let your mother’s sons bow to you. Cursed be they who curse you, blessed they who bless you.”

The Bat Ayin on Genesis 27:28 delves into the duality of blessings from the dew of heaven as well as from the fat of the earth. He connects heaven to spiritual endeavors and the earth to material efforts and provides guidance as to how we can connect to God. He suggests that we need to start with the spiritual endeavors, with our study of Torah, with prayer, with reaching out to God with our hearts and minds.

After we’ve established that connection to heaven, then we can better focus and succeed with our earthly efforts. Even then, the material activities need to remain connected to God and the Torah. By connecting our mundane, daily efforts to God’s will, we ensure that His blessings will be upon our work. By connecting heaven and earth, we ensure that our efforts will yield fruit, that we will enjoy from the fat of the earth and an abundance of blessings.

May we remember that our efforts cannot succeed without God’s blessing, and may we realize He’s given us lots of suggestions as to how to merit such blessings.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To the start of the World Cup.

About the Author
Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of six books of Biblical Fiction and hundreds of articles and stories dealing with biblical themes. He is the publisher of Torah.Works, a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets on Parsha, Mishna, Daf, Rambam, Halacha, Tanya and Emuna. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.
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