The “Kol” Factor by Nachi Friedman


In this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sara, we read about two themes, the purchase of Maarat Hamachpela by Avraham in order to bury his wife Sarah and Avraham’s mission to find a wife for Yitzchak.

Between these two stories, (in 24:1) the Torah says, “And Avraham became old and Hashem blessed him in everything.  ”The word “Bakol” is very difficult to understand.  What does “Kol” mean, and why “in”?

Chazal explain this phrase in connection with the following.  There are two other places in Bereishit where the word Kol is used in a similar way.  When Esav asks for the Beracha, but Yitzchak had already blessed Yaakov, Yitzchak says (27:33), “And Yitzchak had a great shock and said, “Who had brought me the hunted food before and that I ate from everything [מכל] and I blessed him before you came?”   The next time Kol is mentioned is when Yaakov meets Esav and offers him many gifts in order to appease him. Esav refuses the gift, but Yaakov insists that he take it and he says (33:11), “Take the present I brought to you because Hashem has been very good to me and I have everything [כל].”

We have noted three times where it says Kol in different forms.  By Avraham it says “Bakol,” by Yitzchak it says “Mikol,” and by Yaakov it says just plain “Kol.”

Chazal understood from this that each of our Avot was given a taste of Olam Haba while still alive in this world.  Avraham’s uniqueness was that Hashem had blessed him Bakol, in everything, meaning that he appreciated everything Hashem gave him and did for him and truly felt blessed.  Because of this he grew as a person and as a Jew through each of these blessings.  Yitzchak, on the other hand, has the ability to see blessing and thrive on the blessing which he gets Mikol, from everything.  Even though Yitzchak faced many difficulties in his life, he sees blessing in carrying out Hashem’s will and this alone makes him happy.  Finally we come to Yaakov, who has everything because he is totally satisfied with what he has.  This is the attitude of  Kol.  This idea is also expressed in Pirkei Avot. “He who is rich is he who is happy with what he has.”           

Now we can understand why in Birkot Hamazon we say, “Bakol Mikol Kol.”  This is the way we wish to be blessed, just like our three Avot.  We are asking Hashem to bless us in a way that we too can appreciate all that we have and see the good in everything around us.

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