Friday, March 24, 2023

When Yaakov was given his blessing (27:28), he was told ויתן לך האלקים, “God shall grant you the dew of the heavens …” When his brother Eisav was given a similar blessing (27:30), he was simply told that the dew of the heavens would be his, without mentioning God’s involvement. The difference in formulation was apparently a response to the way Yaakov had expressed himself to his father (27:20), attributing his personal success to God, “Because Hashem your God caused it to happen for me.” This was the way Yaakov spoke and lived, acknowledging Hashem’s presence in the abundant gifts of his life (Rashi 27:21).

Apparently, an essential part of the blessing is recognizing its source. Eisav may have been blessed with material prosperity, but he received it in a vacuum, in an empty world. Yaakov, on the other hand, was blessed to feel and see the comforting and sustaining hand of Hashem, acknowledging and feeling His presence.

Chazon Ish shared this idea in an important lesson about faith:

An insidious misunderstanding has crept into the hearts of many regarding the concept of faith. Bitachon, a virtue of the most pious, has been construed to imply an obligation to believe under all circumstances of uncertainty that the result will undoubtedly be the good one, such that one who is concerned about the eventual outcome is faulted as lacking faith. This understanding is flawed, as one who has not been informed by prophesy cannot know the future. Rather bitachon is the belief that nothing in our world happens by chance and that whatever occurs was by God’s design.

Yaakov’s blessing included both the prosperity, the dew of the heavens and his appreciation of the ever-present hand of God. As his descendants, we can make note of both the many material and physical blessings in our lives, and Hashem’s encouraging presence in our world.

אל תירא כי עמך אני אל תשתע כי אני אלקיך אמצתיך אף עזרתיך אף תמכתיך בימין צדקי

“Do not fear for I am with you; be not discouraged for I am your God; I encouraged you, I helped you, I have supported you with My righteous hand.” (Yeshayahu 41:10)

Rabbi Moshe Hauer is executive vice president of the Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization.

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