These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on November 25, 2011 by Barer

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One of the things that stayed with me after spending most of my four months in Chumash class last year at Pardes studying this week’s parsha is how important it is to consider Yitzchak’s mindset as he blesses his sons.  This is someone who probably had a very rocky relationship with their own father, and, at least textually, did not speak to or see Avraham after the Akeida (they did not descend the mountain together).  With that background in mind, it becomes impossible to miss the parallels between the conversation Avraham has with Yitzchak as they ascend the mountain (22:7) and the initial conversation Yitzchak has with his son Eisav (27:1).  Yitzchak, unlike his father, is not ‘tested’ to show his devotion to Hashem, potentially because of the role he already played in the Akeida.  Instead, Yitzchak has full control – or so he hopes – over how to pass on the covenental blessing to the next generation.  What could be more foolproof then asking the talented hunter son to prepare a nice meal and then be blessed, even if Yitzchak’s eyes are fading?  The real hook between the two stories is the extremely powerful Hineini – and when Yitzchak hears Eisav answer as he himself answered on the way up the mountain, Yitzchak is unsurprisingly sure that his own plan to pass on the blessing to his favourite son will go off without a hitch.

Echoes of the past
Used to assure a dying man:
The blessing lives on