Real Blessings by Marc Poleyeff


The middle of this week’s Parasha tells the celebrated story of Yaakov “stealing” Eisav’s Berachot.  Rivkah had heard that Yitzchak wanted to bless Eisav and had asked Eisav to bring him a meal to eat.  Rivkah immediately instructed Yaakov to fetch two goats to bring to Yitzchak.  Yaakov would then be able to pretend he was Eisav and receive the Berachot.  Why didn’t Hashem bless Yaakov himself?  Why was the entire ruse necessary?  In addition, why didn’t Hashem ever inform Yitzchak of Eisav’s true character?

Rav Moshe Feinstein explains it requires special Zechut to receive a Berachah straight from Hashem.  There are many Malachim who try to interfere with Hashem’s intended Berachot.  These angels, created when people sin, try to prevent any Berachot from actually reaching the individual.  Thus, by Yitzchak blessing Yaakov, the Berachot certainly would be fulfilled, for the interfering angels act only against Berachot coming from Hashem.  Although Yitzchak’s blessing includes the name “Elokim,” denoting strict justice, signifying that Bnei Yisrael would receive these Berachot only if they proved worthy, it still would have required an extremely major sin to nullify the Berachot.  Thus, Yitzchak, rather than Hashem, blessed Yaakov, because these Berachot surely would be fulfilled.

If Yitzchak had known that he was blessing Yaakov, he would have blessed Yaakov only with spiritual greatness; he never would have mentioned prosperity.  But Hashem wanted Yaakov to be blessed with both physical and spiritual success, and therefore he did not reveal Eisav’s horrible character traits to Yitzchak until after the Berachot were given to Yaakov.  After these Berachot were given and Eisav returned, Yitzchak saw Gehenom open beneath him (Rashi 27:33 s.v. VaYecherad)  and thus found out about Eisav’s true nature.

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