The Meaning of the Blessings of Yitzchak

I would like to open with three questions on the mysterious happenings surrounding the blessings Yitzchak grants to his two sons:

(1) What is the meaning behind the blessings?

(2) Why was it so important to Yitzchak’s children that they receive a blessing from him?

(3) Why didn’t Yitzchak plan to bless both of his sons from the beginning?

After Yitzchak realizes that he blessed Yaakov instead of Esav, Esav appears and cries. Yitzchak appears as if he doesn’t want to bless him. Esav weeps and says, ” Do you have but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, my father ” (Breishiet 27:38).
Why was it so hard for Yitzchak to bless Esav after he gave the blessings to Yaakov?
A blessing gives abundance to a person who acts in the appropriate manner. A blessing assists a person who is ready to walk on the correct path; but for one who doesn’t a blessing will not benefit him. However, there is another aspect to blessings, a blessing has a purpose.
It must be said though, that a blessing from a patriarch does not only have purpose but it also delineates a mission. The Rambam (in his introduction to the Mishnah Torah) writes that the Torah is passed from generation to generation. Moshe passed the Torah to Yehoshua and from there every generation received the Torah from the previous generation. It seems, according to the Rambam, that every generation bears the responsibility to continue this divine mission, and every generation passes the mission onto the next generation.
G-d gave Avraham a special mission and he passed it on to Yitzchak. Who would then continue this divine mission? This is the question that confronts Yitzchak. The conflict between Yaakov and Esav  is, in fact, an argument over who will continue the way of Avraham and who will continue the divine mission.

We see in our parasha that Yitzchak did not consider delegating the primary mission to Yaakov at first. All the blessings that Yitzchak passes on deal with materialism. At the end of last week’s parasha, Avraham’s blessings dealt with the promise of offspring and inheritance of the land of Israel.
It seems, that Yitzchak thought to split the mission: The first would be a spiritual mission, the blessing of decendents and inheritance of the land, to Yaakov. And a material mission, “of the fat of the earthshall be your dwelling, and of the dew of heavenfrom above” to Esav.
In the end, it becomes apparent to Yitzchak that Yaakov is supposed to accept both the spiritual and material missions; it becomes clear to him that the spiritual and physical missions MUST be given together.
Lets take a closer look at the two blessings that Yitchak gave to Yaakov. The fact that Yitzchak blessed Yaakov (when he thought that he was Esav) with the one blessing and then he blessed Esav with a different blessing, forces us to conclude that Yitzchak understood the error, Yitzchak understood that the entire mission had to be passed on to Yaakov. This is why he ultimately blesses Esav in a different way. This is expressed not only by the fact that Yaakov is supposed to rule over Esav, but even in the items similar between the two blessings, and the fact that Esav’s blessing has more of a material spin.
In the first blessing, which was eventually given to Yaakov, says “So Elokim (G-d), may He give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fat of the earth” and the blessing that was given to Esav says “the fat of the earth shall be your dwelling, and of the dew of heaven from above.” The name of G-d is not mentioned in the Esav’s blessing. The blessing that was given to Yaakov is a material blessing with a divine mission. It is not just talking about material success, Yaakov and his descendants are given a divine mission and must sanctify the physical world.
Another interesting point is that in the first blessing given to Yaakov there is mention of the dew of the heaven and then the fat of the earth. In Yaakov’s case the sky will influence the ground! As opposed to the blessing of Esav, where the earth is mentioned before the sky – for Esav physicality is central. The first blessing given to Yaakov is described as a blessing and the root of the Hebrew word for blessing, Bracha appears by Yaakov’s blessing three times. The root of the word Bracha does not even appear once by Esav’s.
The blessing is an assignment and a mission which is amazing and uplifting, but at the same time obligatory.  As we saw before, G-d is only mentioned in Yaakov’s blessing. Rashi comments on this and says that the name of G-d used here is “Elokim” which represents the aspect of judgment. Esav will receive his livelihood and success whether or not he is deserving of such. He doesn’t receive these blessings because he is fulfilling a mission, but rather because G-d will offer His protection because he is Yitzchak’s son.
However, Yaakov’s success is divine, yet conditional. He will only receive it if he and his descendants fulfill their mission.  The aspect of “Elokim”-Dien, judgment is innate in Yaakov’s blessing. He will always be judged based on his actions.
We must remember the blessing, the mission and the assignment given to our forefather, Yaakov. We must try to aspire to live a life with a mission, a life that aims at fulfilling the will of G-d in this world, a life that sanctifies the material world, a life that takes all our strengths and directs them towards holiness, improving the world, doing good, and with this we will be worthy of an abundance of divine goodness that will strengthen and uplift us.

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