Thursday, November 04, 2010

m'tal hashamayim

Earlier in the week I mentioned that it seems inconceivable that the extent of the bracha given to Ya'akov was that he should have the best in materialism, and I cited the Shem m'Shmuel's interpretation of the bracha: "V'Yiten lecha ha'Elokim" -- you should find spirituality, Elokus, "M'tal hashamayim u'mishmanei ha'aretz" -- within the physical. I'm wondering if there is a little more to it than that. It seems that people have an easier coming to religion when they are challenged. Our history is unfortunately filled with examples of Jews who drifted far from their roots, yet who would still not surrender their identity even when faced with the threat of death. You take the threat away and provide freedom, luxury, a good life, and strangely the same person voluntarily drifts away from their Jewishness. Maybe Yitzchak's bracha to Ya'akov was that, "V'Yiten lecha ha'Elokim," he should find his committment to Hashem not just when times are tough, but even, "M'tal hashamayim...," when he has the benefits of luxury as well.


  1. The Midrash paraphrases the bracha:

    Dew of the heaven: mann
    Fat places of the earth: the well
    Plenty of corn and wine: sacrifices

    However, here's another thought I've been mulling over: Eisav is asked to bring venison - a wild animal. Yaakov brings a lamb - a sacrificial animal. Why didn't Yitzchak ask Eisav to bring a sacrificial animal unless he knew Eisav's destiny was to be a wild man?

  2. Or perhaps Yitzchak saw in Eisav the power to elevate (or tame) even the wild domain, which he thought lacking in Ya'akov. (