Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toldot: Isaac blesses both his sons

It is noteworthy that the introduction to the blessings given to Jacob and Esau are similar, with important differences. Jacob's blessing starts in Genesis 27:28 -

"Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth..."

in contrast to Esau's blessing which starts in Genesis 27:39 -

"Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above..."

Rav Yehuah Amital notes in his "Jewish values in a changing world" that the key difference here is that Jacob's gifts are described as from G-d, whereas Esau's are not. Rav Amital suggests that the relationship created with G-d by receiving the dew of heaven and fatness of the earth is the core of Jacob's blessing.

My mother, Brenda Feig, also noted that Esau's blessing does not contain the systematic order that Jacob's does. Jacob's blessing lays down an order that starts with G-d, continues with heaven's dew and then earth's fatness. Esau's blessing starts with earth's fatness and then continues with heaven's dew, with no mention of G-d. Perhaps an awareness of this order, in contrast to Esau's random chaos, is also part of Jacob's blessing.

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