JUSTICE-4/Jacob’s Blessing on Condition


© 2016 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner

Torah Class JUSTICE-4/Blessing Jacob on Condition

1: Blessing in ELKM’s Name

As if to take the story to a climax of INJUSTICE, the Torah tells how Jacob presented himself as an imposter to his father. The very person who seeks truth, Jacob, uses the ultimate lie of identity theft!
You know the story. Rebeca hears that Isaac wishes to bless Esau, so she orders Jacob to disguise himself  is Esau’s clothes  and cheat his blind father. Jacob doubts the legitimacy of the move, but his mother assures him that “Your curse is on me,”  Let’s focus on the Blessing itself: :

Blessing to Jacob:
“Let ELKM give you the dew of the Heavens and the fatness of the earth
And plenty of corn and wine.
Let peoples serve you and nations bow down to you
Be lord over your brothers and let your mother’s sons bow down to you
Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be those who bless you”

It is an enormous blessing, of both material achievements and spiritual. Though Isaac did not know at that time who the person in front of him was, he felt that he was worthy of it. Isaac may or may not recognized Jacob as his firstborn, yet he endowed Jacob with his blessing.

Then, in one of the most moving moments in the Torah, Esau enters the room as Jacob exits. He says to his father:“Let my father get up and eat from his son’s game,”expecting to receive his blessing. But his startled father says in alarm; “Who are you?”
Esau says: “I am your son, your firstborn Esau.”
The shaken Isaac says: “Who then was the person that gave me his game to eat, and I ate before you came, and I blessed him, and he will be blessed by YHVH!”
Esau then burst in tears. He “cries out  an exceedingly great and bitter cry: Would you bless me too, my father?”

so great and honest was his cry that the entire Angelic Choir of seventy nations cried with him.  Esau became a leader of the Noahide Nations.  He still is, even today.

Isaac blessing to Esau
Isaac blessed  Esau too, saying:

“And he said to him: behold, thy dwelling shall be.
Of the fatness of the earth and of the dew of the Heavens from above
And by the sword shall you live and you shall serve your brother
And it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion…”

While Jacob received his blessing in ELKM’S Name, on condition, Esau received  his unconditional. .

Jacob blessing is superior, but it comes with condition.
Esau blessing is great enough to satisfy him, and is given with no condition.
This is why the Jewish people are judged throughout history more than other peoples.
The blessing given to Israel is great, but it comes only on condition.

Had Esau been given the blessings as originally intended, on condition, under ELKM’s name, Esau would have most likely failed.
In that sense, Rebeca did him a great favor by diverting Isaac’s Blessing to Jacob , leaving Esau another  blessing with no condition.

So far Jacob brought out his truth to the open. But it came with a cost: peace. Esau swore to kill him, after their father would pass away. Rebeca, with her sharp eyes, orders Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran.

Esau is left to take care of his parents.  By this he gained the esteem of the rabbis who understood that he too had a legitimate claim for the firstborn status. The dispute between them would come to an end only through a direct confrontation. .