Vayechi: Jacob's superior blessing

Torah from israel's first Chief Rabbi, the iconic leader of Religious Zionism.

HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook zts"l, | updated: 12:09

Judaism האזכרה בישיבת מרכז הרב
האזכרה בישיבת מרכז הרב
צילום: אוסף התצלומים של צדוק בסן.

Before his death, Jacob blessed each of his sons. He blessed his beloved son Joseph, saying:

“Blessings of heaven above, blessings of the abyss lying beneath; blessings of plenty and children. The blessings of your father are superior to those of my parents, until the desired hills of eternity.” (Gen. 49:25-26)

  • Why did Jacob claim that his blessings were superior to those of his parents?
  • What did he mean by the phrase “until the desired hills of eternity”?

Blessings from Above

The blessings of Abraham and Sarah were realized in miracles that God performed for them: a son born to them at an advanced age; and God’s protection when Sarah was kidnapped. Isaac and Rebecca were similarly blessed with miraculous intervention in their interaction with the Philistine king Abimelekh.

Jacob prayed that his son would similarly be blessed with Divine protection when needed. This is what he meant by “blessings of heaven above.”

Blessings in the World Below

However, Jacob added that his blessings should also be manifested within the realm of the physical world. He emphasized that they should be “blessings of the abyss lying beneath.”

This is truly an amazing blessing, one reflecting a higher level of spiritual influence. Unlike miracles that disrupt the world’s natural order, Jacob prayed that Joseph would merit a life where the physical world is elevated, and God’s blessings are evident in the natural world.

In fact, Jacob’s blessing is a vision of the World to Come. He foresaw a world beyond simple miracles, a world whose material boundaries continually expand. Thus Jacob described his blessing as one of unending heights: “until the desired hills of eternity.”

This blessing is a vision of a future world: a universe characterized by eternal ascent, able to accept infinite light.

(Adapted from Olat Re'iyah vol. II, p. 203)

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