Gershon Hepner

Who is Blindly Blessing and Who is Blessed?

While Jacob blessed two of his grandkids blindly,

not clear exactly who was blessing who,

the grandfather or Joseph, who unkindly

rejected Jacob’s blessing, poor review.


You would prefer, I must assume,

for me to write not “who” but “whom,”

and instead of “best” say “better,”

as per grammar’s legal letter.


Instead, please realize the aged Jew’s

grandchildren were the blessing that he blessed,

most grateful capo as grandfather whose

grandchildren were his capital’s interest.



The first two verses of this poem were inspired by Rabbi David Wolpe’s Off the Pulpit article, 12/13/28:

The Grandparent’s Blessing

A grandfather solves the most troubling problem of the first book of the Torah.

From the beginning there have been clashes between brothers: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers. Sometimes the clashes are sparked by parents, at other times the siblings themselves build resentments.

Now Joseph is in Egypt with his brothers. On his deathbed Jacob, Joseph’s father, calls Joseph and his sons Menasseh and Ephraim. Jacob tells Joseph he intends to adopt them as his own, but of course, they are really his grandchildren. It is the first interaction of a grandparent and a grandchild we read about in the Torah. And what does the grandfather do? He blesses them.

He gives the younger the greater blessing, an act which has sparked hatred before. Yet this time it causes no discord. The elder Menasseh accepts the lesser blessing. Perhaps the dynamic is different when a grandparent blesses, or perhaps after a lifetime of strife Jacob knew to bless both children together. To this very day parents on Friday night offer the blessing of Ephraim and Menasseh. Many do not realize it is the grandparent’s blessing. Grandparents have a special role, to be like Jacob – to be a blessing.

The third verse of this poem was inspired by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik’s podcast on the Siddur “The Fruit Plate and the Blessing of Holiness,” in which he suggested that the rationale of every blessing  Jews must make before enjoying what they consider to be good is an implied prayer that God facilitate the reproduction of what He considered to be good after He created it. Rabbi Soloveichik drew this conclusion from the first blessing mentioned in the Bible, which states in Genesis 1:21-22 that God blessed all the animals that God had created on the fifth day of creation, not only considering them all to be good but commanding them all to multiply:

וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃

And God saw that this was good.

וַיְבָ֧רֶךְ אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֗וּ וּמִלְא֤וּ אֶת־הַמַּ֙יִם֙ בַּיַּמִּ֔ים וְהָע֖וֹף יִ֥רֶב בָּאָֽרֶץ׃

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fertile and increase, fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”



I feel especially blessed by the gift from God of my own grandchildren, and as grandparents I and my wife bless them, which Rachel, the grandmother of the grandsons in my poem, was unable to do.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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