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   by Jacob Solomon

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Your brother came in cleverness and took your blessing (27:35)

The final part of the Parasha narrates how, with Rebecca's encouragement, Jacob deceived his father Isaac and received the blessing which was supposed to be Esau's. And when Isaac found that his blindness had been taken advantage of in that way, he did not react with anger but accepted what happened as what was supposed to happen: "Your brother came in cleverness and took your blessing".

This may be explained by considering the following. Abraham was a founder. A product of an advanced, urban culture, he followed the word of G-d to become a traveler to and within the Land of Canaan. His connection with G-d was new, his pastoral nomadic lifestyle dependent on supplies of water was new, and his spiritual endeavors and trials were all new. He had no human mentors.

In contrast, Isaac was brought up within Abraham's way of life. Much of his life was similar to Abraham - famine forced him out of Canaan, his wife was abducted by Abimelech, and he had to struggle with the local people over reliable supplies of water. And like Abraham, one of his sons did not conduct himself in the way he wanted: Ishmael's behavior caused G-d to agree to with Sara's request to throw him out of the household. Esau's marrying Hittite women also brought distress to Isaac and Rebecca. Yet Isaac appears to have taken the distress caused in his stride. He did not appear to have let Esau's domestic matters stand in the way of his relationship with his own son. For it was to Esau that he wanted to give the blessing, not Jacob.

With this cloistered background, it may be suggested that Isaac did not have the capacity to read Esau's behavior correctly. He regarded Esau's marrying into circles other than his own as something that was regrettable, but just happened. This stood in contrast to Abraham who took great pains to ensure that Isaac did not marry into local circles. Abraham's urban background enabled him to understand the Hittite culture. Isaac's entirely "holy, nomadic" background did not.

That is why it took Jacob's successful deception for Isaac to realize that he had been blinded not only in sight, but in judgment. His thinking was on the same lines as Laban and Bethuel's: "This matter is from G-d". He saw the Hand of G-d in enabling him to be deceived by Jacob… He saw G-d as his educator, to which he responded with: "Yes, let him (Jacob) also be blessed" (27:33).

For those looking for more comprehensive material, questions and answers on the Parasha may be found at and on the material on the Haftara at .

Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.

Parashiot from the First, Second, and Third Series may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site:

Also by Jacob Solomon:
From the Prophets on the Haftara

Test Yourself - Questions and Answers


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