Genesis – Select a Chapter

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25:19  This is the story of Yitzchak, son of Avraham. Avraham begot Yitzchak.

כה:יט  וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־יִצְחָק׃

20  Yitzchak was forty years old when he took to wife Rivka, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean.

כ  וַיְהִי יִצְחָק בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה בְּקַחְתּוֹ אֶת־רִבְקָה בַּת־בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי מִפַּדַּן אֲרָם אֲחוֹת לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃

21  Yitzchak pleaded with Hashem on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and Hashem responded to his plea, and his wife Rivka conceived.

כא  וַיֶּעְתַּר יִצְחָק לַיהֹוָה לְנֹכַח אִשְׁתּוֹ כִּי עֲקָרָה הִוא וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ יְהֹוָה וַתַּהַר רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ׃

22  But the children struggled in her womb, and she said, “If so, why do I exist?” She went to inquire of Hashem,

כב  וַיִּתְרֹצֲצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ וַתֹּאמֶר אִם־כֵּן לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת־יְהֹוָה׃

23  and Hashem answered her, “Two nations are in your womb, Two separate peoples shall issue from your body; One people shall be mightier than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”

כג  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה לָהּ שְׁנֵי גיים [גוֹיִם] בְּבִטְנֵךְ וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ וּלְאֹם מִלְאֹם יֶאֱמָץ וְרַב יַעֲבֹד צָעִיר׃

24  When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb.

כד  וַיִּמְלְאוּ יָמֶיהָ לָלֶדֶת וְהִנֵּה תוֹמִם בְּבִטְנָהּ׃

25  The first one emerged red, like a hairy mantle all over; so they named him Esau.

כה  וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן אַדְמוֹנִי כֻּלּוֹ כְּאַדֶּרֶת שֵׂעָר וַיִּקְרְאוּ שְׁמוֹ עֵשָׂו׃

26  Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau; so they named him Yaakov. Yitzchak was sixty years old when they were born.

כו  וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן יָצָא אָחִיו וְיָדוֹ אֹחֶזֶת בַּעֲקֵב עֵשָׂו וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעֲקֹב וְיִצְחָק בֶּן־שִׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה בְּלֶדֶת אֹתָם׃

27  When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the outdoors; but Yaakov was a mild man who stayed in camp.

כז  וַיִּגְדְּלוּ הַנְּעָרִים וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו אִישׁ יֹדֵעַ צַיִד אִישׁ שָׂדֶה וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם יֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים׃

28  Yitzchak favored Esau because he had a taste for game; but Rivka favored Yaakov.

כח  וַיֶּאֱהַב יִצְחָק אֶת־עֵשָׂו כִּי־צַיִד בְּפִיו וְרִבְקָה אֹהֶבֶת אֶת־יַעֲקֹב׃

29  Once when Yaakov was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open, famished.

כט  וַיָּזֶד יַעֲקֹב נָזִיד וַיָּבֹא עֵשָׂו מִן־הַשָּׂדֶה וְהוּא עָיֵף׃

30  And Esau said to Yaakov, “Give me some of that red stuff to gulp down, for I am famished”—which is why he was named Edom.

ל  וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו אֶל־יַעֲקֹב הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן־הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה כִּי עָיֵף אָנֹכִי עַל־כֵּן קָרָא־שְׁמוֹ אֱדוֹם׃

31  Yaakov said, “First sell me your birthright.”

לא  וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב מִכְרָה כַיּוֹם אֶת־בְּכֹרָתְךָ לִי׃

32  And Esau said, “I am at the point of death, so of what use is my birthright to me?”

לב  וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ לָמוּת וְלָמָּה־זֶּה לִי בְּכֹרָה׃

33  But Yaakov said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Yaakov.

לג  וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב הִשָּׁבְעָה לִּי כַּיּוֹם וַיִּשָּׁבַע לוֹ וַיִּמְכֹּר אֶת־בְּכֹרָתוֹ לְיַעֲקֹב׃

34  Yaakov then gave Esau bread and lentil stew; he ate and drank, and he rose and went away. Thus did Esau spurn the birthright.

לד  וְיַעֲקֹב נָתַן לְעֵשָׂו לֶחֶם וּנְזִיד עֲדָשִׁים וַיֹּאכַל וַיֵּשְׁתְּ וַיָּקָם וַיֵּלַךְ וַיִּבֶז עֵשָׂו אֶת־הַבְּכֹרָה׃

26:1  There was a famine in the land—aside from the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Avraham—and Yitzchak went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

כו:א  וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ מִלְּבַד הָרָעָב הָרִאשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר הָיָה בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם וַיֵּלֶךְ יִצְחָק אֶל־אֲבִימֶּלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ־פְּלִשְׁתִּים גְּרָרָה׃

2  Hashem had appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land which I point out to you.

ב  וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־תֵּרֵד מִצְרָיְמָה שְׁכֹן בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֹמַר אֵלֶיךָ׃

3  Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; I will assign all these lands to you and to your heirs, fulfilling the oath that I swore to your father Avraham.

GUR ba-A-retz ha-ZOT v’-eh-YEH i-m’-KHA va-a-va-r’-KHE-ka kee l’-KHA ul-zar-a-KHA e-TAYN et kol ha-a-ra-TZOT ha-AYL va-ha-ki-mo-TEE et ha-sh’-vu-AH a-SHER nish-BA-tee l’-av-ra-HAM a-VEE-kha

ג  גּוּר בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וְאֶהְיֶה עִמְּךָ וַאֲבָרְכֶךָּ כִּי־לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת־כָּל־הָאֲרָצֹת הָאֵל וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת־הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ׃

26:3 Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you

Yitzchak is warned that despite the famine in Eretz Yisrael, he is not to escape the hardship by fleeing to Egypt. Though Avraham went down to Egypt when there was a plague in Israel, and Yaakov likewise descended to Egypt towards the end of his life, God told Yitzchak not to leave the Land of Israel. Due to the unique spiritual status he acquired after being offered on the altar, Yitzchak was the only one of the three forefathers to never step foot outside of the Holy Land.2 comments

4  I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven, and assign to your heirs all these lands, so that all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your heirs

v’-hir-bay-TEE et zar-a-KHA k’-kho-kh’-VAY ha-sha-MA-yim v’-na-ta-TEE l’-zar-a-KHA AYT kol ha-a-ra-TZOT ha-AYL v’-hit-ba-r’-KHU v’-zar-a-KHA KOL go-YAY ha-A-retz

ד  וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנָתַתִּי לְזַרְעֲךָ אֵת כָּל־הָאֲרָצֹת הָאֵל וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ׃

 26:4 I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven

Why are the children of Avraham compared to the stars? The poetess Chana Senesh was born in Hungary in 1921 and in 1939 she emigrated to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. Senesh was a brave heroine who volunteered to leave her beloved Palestine in 1944 in order to fight with the partisans against the Nazis. Unfortunately, she was caught, tried for treason and eventually executed. In one of her beautiful poems she wrote, “There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for mankind.” Like the stars in Senesh’s poem, the Jew’s role in this world is to light the way for mankind, despite the darkness we have encountered throughout our history.2 comments

5  inasmuch as Avraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings.”

ה  עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמַע אַבְרָהָם בְּקֹלִי וַיִּשְׁמֹר מִשְׁמַרְתִּי מִצְוׂתַי חֻקּוֹתַי וְתוֹרֹתָי׃

6  So Yitzchak stayed in Gerar.

ו  וַיֵּשֶׁב יִצְחָק בִּגְרָר׃

7  When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say “my wife,” thinking, “The men of the place might kill me on account of Rivka, for she is beautiful.”

ז  וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם לְאִשְׁתּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲחֹתִי הִוא כִּי יָרֵא לֵאמֹר אִשְׁתִּי פֶּן־יַהַרְגֻנִי אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם עַל־רִבְקָה כִּי־טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה הִיא׃

8  When some time had passed, Abimelech king of the Philistines, looking out of the window, saw Yitzchak fondling his wife Rivka.

ח  וַיְהִי כִּי אָרְכוּ־לוֹ שָׁם הַיָּמִים וַיַּשְׁקֵף אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מֶלֶךְ פְּלִשְׁתִּים בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹן וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה יִצְחָק מְצַחֵק אֵת רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ׃

9  Abimelech sent for Yitzchak and said, “So she is your wife! Why then did you say: ‘She is my sister?’” Yitzchak said to him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”

ט  וַיִּקְרָא אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לְיִצְחָק וַיֹּאמֶר אַךְ הִנֵּה אִשְׁתְּךָ הִוא וְאֵיךְ אָמַרְתָּ אֲחֹתִי הִוא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יִצְחָק כִּי אָמַרְתִּי פֶּן־אָמוּת עָלֶיהָ׃

10  Abimelech said, “What have you done to us! One of the people might have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

י  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ כִּמְעַט שָׁכַב אַחַד הָעָם אֶת־אִשְׁתֶּךָ וְהֵבֵאתָ עָלֵינוּ אָשָׁם׃

11  Abimelech then charged all the people, saying, “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall be put to death.”

יא  וַיְצַו אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם לֵאמֹר הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּאִישׁ הַזֶּה וּבְאִשְׁתּוֹ מוֹת יוּמָת׃

12  Yitzchak sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same year. Hashem blessed him,

יב  וַיִּזְרַע יִצְחָק בָּאָרֶץ הַהִוא וַיִּמְצָא בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִוא מֵאָה שְׁעָרִים וַיְבָרֲכֵהוּ יְהֹוָה׃

13  and the man grew richer and richer until he was very wealthy:

יג  וַיִּגְדַּל הָאִישׁ וַיֵּלֶךְ הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל עַד כִּי־גָדַל מְאֹד׃

14  he acquired flocks and herds, and a large household, so that the Philistines envied him.

יד  וַיְהִי־לוֹ מִקְנֵה־צֹאן וּמִקְנֵה בָקָר וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה וַיְקַנְאוּ אֹתוֹ פְּלִשְׁתִּים׃

15  And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of his father Avraham, filling them with earth.

טו  וְכָל־הַבְּאֵרֹת אֲשֶׁר חָפְרוּ עַבְדֵי אָבִיו בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו סִתְּמוּם פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיְמַלְאוּם עָפָר׃

16  And Abimelech said to Yitzchak, “Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us.”

va-YO-mer ah-vi-MEH-lekh el yitz-KHAK lekh me-ee-MAH-noo kee ah-TZAM-tah mee-MEH-noo m’-OHD

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־יִצְחָק לֵךְ מֵעִמָּנוּ כִּי־עָצַמְתָּ־מִמֶּנּוּ מְאֹד׃

 26:16  Go away from us, for you have become far too big for us

The story of Yitzchak among the Philistines alludes to the history of the Jewish people during their lengthy exile, hosted by various foreign nations. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin points out that Yitzchak is one Jew in an entire country, yet the Philistines claim that there is no room for him. As a successful farmer, Yitzchak is not an economic burden on his hosts, and yet the Philistines banish him. They could have learned agricultural techniques and benefitted from his water, but they instead choose to ignore the valuable contributions he could make, and they clog the wells he has dug. Similarly, many Jewish inventors and innovators have been expelled from their host nations throughout history. The only safe place where the Children of Israel can flourish is in the Land of Israel.1 comment

17  So Yitzchak departed from there and encamped in the wadi of Gerar, where he settled.

יז  וַיֵּלֶךְ מִשָּׁם יִצְחָק וַיִּחַן בְּנַחַל־גְּרָר וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם׃

18  Yitzchak dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his father Avraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Avraham‘s death; and he gave them the same names that his father had given them.

יח  וַיָּשָׁב יִצְחָק וַיַּחְפֹּר אֶת־בְּאֵרֹת הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר חָפְרוּ בִּימֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיו וַיְסַתְּמוּם פְּלִשְׁתִּים אַחֲרֵי מוֹת אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקְרָא לָהֶן שֵׁמוֹת כַּשֵּׁמֹת אֲשֶׁר־קָרָא לָהֶן אָבִיו׃

19  But when Yitzchak‘s servants, digging in the wadi, found there a well of spring water,

יט  וַיַּחְפְּרוּ עַבְדֵי־יִצְחָק בַּנָּחַל וַיִּמְצְאוּ־שָׁם בְּאֵר מַיִם חַיִּים׃

20  the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Yitzchak‘s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” He named that well Esek, because they contended with him.

כ  וַיָּרִיבוּ רֹעֵי גְרָר עִם־רֹעֵי יִצְחָק לֵאמֹר לָנוּ הַמָּיִם וַיִּקְרָא שֵׁם־הַבְּאֵר עֵשֶׂק כִּי הִתְעַשְּׂקוּ עִמּוֹ׃

21  And when they dug another well, they disputed over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.

כא  וַיַּחְפְּרוּ בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וַיָּרִיבוּ גַּם־עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ שִׂטְנָה׃

22  He moved from there and dug yet another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying, “Now at last Hashem has granted us ample space to increase in the land.”

va-ya-TAYK mi-SHAM va-yakh-POR b’-AYR a-KHE-ret v’-LO ra-VU a-LEY-ha va-yik-RA sh’-MAH r’-kho-VOT va-YO-mer kee a-TAH hir-KHEEV a-do-NAI LA-nu u-fa-REE-nu va-A-retz

כב  וַיַּעְתֵּק מִשָּׁם וַיַּחְפֹּר בְּאֵר אַחֶרֶת וְלֹא רָבוּ עָלֶיהָ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמָהּ רְחֹבוֹת וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי־עַתָּה הִרְחִיב יְהֹוָה לָנוּ וּפָרִינוּ בָאָרֶץ׃

23  From there he went up to Be’er Sheva.

כג  וַיַּעַל מִשָּׁם בְּאֵר שָׁבַע׃

24  That night Hashem appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Avraham. Fear not, for I am with you, and I will bless you and increase your offspring for the sake of My servant Avraham.”

כד  וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהֹוָה בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ אַל־תִּירָא כִּי־אִתְּךָ אָנֹכִי וּבֵרַכְתִּיךָ וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת־זַרְעֲךָ בַּעֲבוּר אַבְרָהָם עַבְדִּי׃

25  So he built a mizbayach there and invoked Hashem by name. Yitzchak pitched his tent there and his servants started digging a well.

כה  וַיִּבֶן שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה וַיֶּט־שָׁם אָהֳלוֹ וַיִּכְרוּ־שָׁם עַבְדֵי־יִצְחָק בְּאֵר׃

26  And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor and Phicol chief of his troops.

כו  וַאֲבִימֶלֶךְ הָלַךְ אֵלָיו מִגְּרָר וַאֲחֻזַּת מֵרֵעֵהוּ וּפִיכֹל שַׂר־צְבָאוֹ׃

27  Yitzchak said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?”

כז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִצְחָק מַדּוּעַ בָּאתֶם אֵלָי וְאַתֶּם שְׂנֵאתֶם אֹתִי וַתְּשַׁלְּחוּנִי מֵאִתְּכֶם׃

28  And they said, “We now see plainly that Hashem has been with you, and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you

כח  וַיֹּאמְרוּ רָאוֹ רָאִינוּ כִּי־הָיָה יְהֹוָה עִמָּךְ וַנֹּאמֶר תְּהִי נָא אָלָה בֵּינוֹתֵינוּ בֵּינֵינוּ וּבֵינֶךָ וְנִכְרְתָה בְרִית עִמָּךְ׃

29  that you will not do us harm, just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly with you and sent you away in peace. From now on, be you blessed of Hashem!”

כט  אִם־תַּעֲשֵׂה עִמָּנוּ רָעָה כַּאֲשֶׁר לֹא נְגַעֲנוּךָ וְכַאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂינוּ עִמְּךָ רַק־טוֹב וַנְּשַׁלֵּחֲךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם אַתָּה עַתָּה בְּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה׃

30  Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

ל  וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם מִשְׁתֶּה וַיֹּאכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתּוּ׃

31  Early in the morning, they exchanged oaths. Yitzchak then bade them farewell, and they departed from him in peace.

לא  וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ בַבֹּקֶר וַיִּשָּׁבְעוּ אִישׁ לְאָחִיו וַיְשַׁלְּחֵם יִצְחָק וַיֵּלְכוּ מֵאִתּוֹ בְּשָׁלוֹם׃

32  That same day Yitzchak‘s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water!”

לב  וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיָּבֹאוּ עַבְדֵי יִצְחָק וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ עַל־אֹדוֹת הַבְּאֵר אֲשֶׁר חָפָרוּ וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ מָצָאנוּ מָיִם׃

33  He named it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Be’er Sheva to this day.

לג  וַיִּקְרָא אֹתָהּ שִׁבְעָה עַל־כֵּן שֵׁם־הָעִיר בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

34  When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of Be’eri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite;

לד  וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה אֶת־יְהוּדִית בַּת־בְּאֵרִי הַחִתִּי וְאֶת־בָּשְׂמַת בַּת־אֵילֹן הַחִתִּי׃

35  and they were a source of bitterness to Yitzchak and Rivka.

לה  וַתִּהְיֶיןָ מֹרַת רוּחַ לְיִצְחָק וּלְרִבְקָה׃

27:1  When Yitzchak was old and his eyes were too dim to see, he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son.” He answered, “Here I am.”

כז:א  וַיְהִי כִּי־זָקֵן יִצְחָק וַתִּכְהֶיןָ עֵינָיו מֵרְאֹת וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־עֵשָׂו בְּנוֹ הַגָּדֹל וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו בְּנִי וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הִנֵּנִי׃

2  And he said, “I am old now, and I do not know how soon I may die.

ב  וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה־נָא זָקַנְתִּי לֹא יָדַעְתִּי יוֹם מוֹתִי׃

3  Take your gear, your quiver and bow, and go out into the open and hunt me some game.

ג  וְעַתָּה שָׂא־נָא כֵלֶיךָ תֶּלְיְךָ וְקַשְׁתֶּךָ וְצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה וְצוּדָה לִּי צידה [צָיִד׃]

4  Then prepare a dish for me such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my innermost blessing before I die.”

ד  וַעֲשֵׂה־לִי מַטְעַמִּים כַּאֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתִּי וְהָבִיאָה לִּי וְאֹכֵלָה בַּעֲבוּר תְּבָרֶכְךָ נַפְשִׁי בְּטֶרֶם אָמוּת׃

5  Rivka had been listening as Yitzchak spoke to his son Esau. When Esau had gone out into the open to hunt game to bring home,

ה  וְרִבְקָה שֹׁמַעַת בְּדַבֵּר יִצְחָק אֶל־עֵשָׂו בְּנוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו הַשָּׂדֶה לָצוּד צַיִד לְהָבִיא׃

6  Rivka said to her son Yaakov, “I overheard your father speaking to your brother Esau, saying,

ו  וְרִבְקָה אָמְרָה אֶל־יַעֲקֹב בְּנָהּ לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת־אָבִיךָ מְדַבֵּר אֶל־עֵשָׂו אָחִיךָ לֵאמֹר׃

7  ‘Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I may bless you, with Hashem‘s approval, before I die.’

ז  הָבִיאָה לִּי צַיִד וַעֲשֵׂה־לִי מַטְעַמִּים וְאֹכֵלָה וַאֲבָרֶכְכָה לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה לִפְנֵי מוֹתִי׃

8  Now, my son, listen carefully as I instruct you.

ח  וְעַתָּה בְנִי שְׁמַע בְּקֹלִי לַאֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מְצַוָּה אֹתָךְ׃

9  Go to the flock and fetch me two choice kids, and I will make of them a dish for your father, such as he likes.

ט  לֶךְ־נָא אֶל־הַצֹּאן וְקַח־לִי מִשָּׁם שְׁנֵי גְּדָיֵי עִזִּים טֹבִים וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתָם מַטְעַמִּים לְאָבִיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר אָהֵב׃

10  Then take it to your father to eat, in order that he may bless you before he dies.”

י  וְהֵבֵאתָ לְאָבִיךָ וְאָכָל בַּעֲבֻר אֲשֶׁר יְבָרֶכְךָ לִפְנֵי מוֹתוֹ׃

11  Yaakov answered his mother Rivka, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am smooth-skinned.

יא  וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־רִבְקָה אִמּוֹ הֵן עֵשָׂו אָחִי אִישׁ שָׂעִר וְאָנֹכִי אִישׁ חָלָק׃

12  If my father touches me, I shall appear to him as a trickster and bring upon myself a curse, not a blessing.”

יב  אוּלַי יְמֻשֵּׁנִי אָבִי וְהָיִיתִי בְעֵינָיו כִּמְתַעְתֵּעַ וְהֵבֵאתִי עָלַי קְלָלָה וְלֹא בְרָכָה׃

13  But his mother said to him, “Your curse, my son, be upon me! Just do as I say and go fetch them for me.”

יג  וַתֹּאמֶר לוֹ אִמּוֹ עָלַי קִלְלָתְךָ בְּנִי אַךְ שְׁמַע בְּקֹלִי וְלֵךְ קַח־לִי׃

14  He got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared a dish such as his father liked.

יד  וַיֵּלֶךְ וַיִּקַּח וַיָּבֵא לְאִמּוֹ וַתַּעַשׂ אִמּוֹ מַטְעַמִּים כַּאֲשֶׁר אָהֵב אָבִיו׃

15  Rivka then took the best clothes of her older son Esau, which were there in the house, and had her younger son Yaakov put them on;

טו  וַתִּקַּח רִבְקָה אֶת־בִּגְדֵי עֵשָׂו בְּנָהּ הַגָּדֹל הַחֲמֻדֹת אֲשֶׁר אִתָּהּ בַּבָּיִת וַתַּלְבֵּשׁ אֶת־יַעֲקֹב בְּנָהּ הַקָּטָן׃

16  and she covered his hands and the hairless part of his neck with the skins of the kids.

טז  וְאֵת עֹרֹת גְּדָיֵי הָעִזִּים הִלְבִּישָׁה עַל־יָדָיו וְעַל חֶלְקַת צַוָּארָיו׃

17  Then she put in the hands of her son Yaakov the dish and the bread that she had prepared.

יז  וַתִּתֵּן אֶת־הַמַּטְעַמִּים וְאֶת־הַלֶּחֶם אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂתָה בְּיַד יַעֲקֹב בְּנָהּ׃

18  He went to his father and said, “Father.” And he said, “Yes, which of my sons are you?”

יח  וַיָּבֹא אֶל־אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּנִּי מִי אַתָּה בְּנִי׃

19  Yaakov said to his father, “I am Esau, your first-born; I have done as you told me. Pray sit up and eat of my game, that you may give me your innermost blessing.”

יט  וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־אָבִיו אָנֹכִי עֵשָׂו בְּכֹרֶךָ עָשִׂיתִי כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ אֵלָי קוּם־נָא שְׁבָה וְאָכְלָה מִצֵּידִי בַּעֲבוּר תְּבָרֲכַנִּי נַפְשֶׁךָ׃

20  Yitzchak said to his son, “How did you succeed so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because Hashem your God granted me good fortune.”

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל־בְּנוֹ מַה־זֶּה מִהַרְתָּ לִמְצֹא בְּנִי וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי הִקְרָה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנָי׃

21  Yitzchak said to Yaakov, “Come closer that I may feel you, my son—whether you are really my son Esau or not.”

כא  וַיֹּאמֶר יִצְחָק אֶל־יַעֲקֹב גְּשָׁה־נָּא וַאֲמֻשְׁךָ בְּנִי הַאַתָּה זֶה בְּנִי עֵשָׂו אִם־לֹא׃

22  So Yaakov drew close to his father Yitzchak, who felt him and wondered. “The voice is the voice of Yaakov, yet the hands are the hands of Esau.”

כב  וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב אֶל־יִצְחָק אָבִיו וַיְמֻשֵּׁהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר הַקֹּל קוֹל יַעֲקֹב וְהַיָּדַיִם יְדֵי עֵשָׂו׃

23  He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; and so he blessed him.

כג  וְלֹא הִכִּירוֹ כִּי־הָיוּ יָדָיו כִּידֵי עֵשָׂו אָחִיו שְׂעִרֹת וַיְבָרְכֵהוּ׃

24  He asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” And when he said, “I am,”

כד  וַיֹּאמֶר אַתָּה זֶה בְּנִי עֵשָׂו וַיֹּאמֶר אָנִי׃

25  he said, “Serve me and let me eat of my son’s game that I may give you my innermost blessing.” So he served him and he ate, and he brought him wine and he drank.

כה  וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּשָׁה לִּי וְאֹכְלָה מִצֵּיד בְּנִי לְמַעַן תְּבָרֶכְךָ נַפְשִׁי וַיַּגֶּשׁ־לוֹ וַיֹּאכַל וַיָּבֵא לוֹ יַיִן וַיֵּשְׁתְּ׃

26  Then his father Yitzchak said to him, “Come close and kiss me, my son”;

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יִצְחָק אָבִיו גְּשָׁה־נָּא וּשְׁקָה־לִּי בְּנִי׃

27  and he went up and kissed him. And he smelled his clothes and he blessed him, saying, “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of the fields that Hashem has blessed.

כז  וַיִּגַּשׁ וַיִּשַּׁק־לוֹ וַיָּרַח אֶת־רֵיחַ בְּגָדָיו וַיְבָרֲכֵהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר רְאֵה רֵיחַ בְּנִי כְּרֵיחַ שָׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר בֵּרֲכוֹ יְהֹוָה׃

28  “May Hashem give you Of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, Abundance of new grain and wine.

v’-yi-ten l’-KHA ha-e-lo-HEEM mi-TAL ha-sha-MA-yim u-mish-ma-NAY ha-A-retz v’-ROV da-GAN v’-ti-ROSH

כח  וְיִתֶּן־לְךָ הָאֱלֹהִים מִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם וּמִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ וְרֹב דָּגָן וְתִירֹשׁ׃

 27:28   May Hashem give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth

The Zohar, our primary mystical text, says that this blessing is what has sustained the People of Israel throughout the millennia. If so, why was Yitzchak the one who gave the blessing and not Avraham or Yaakov? Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the influential Hebrew songwriter of the 20th century, explained that both Avraham and Yaakov spent part of their lives outside Israel. Therefore it was only Yitzchak, who never once left the Holy Land, who was worthy of bestowing this powerful blessing.3 comments

29  Let peoples serve you, And nations bow to you; Be master over your brothers, And let your mother’s sons bow to you. Cursed be they who curse you, Blessed they who bless you.”

כט  יַעַבְדוּךָ עַמִּים וישתחו [וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ] לְךָ לְאֻמִּים הֱוֵה גְבִיר לְאַחֶיךָ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אִמֶּךָ אֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר וּמְבָרֲכֶיךָ בָּרוּךְ׃

30  No sooner had Yaakov left the presence of his father Yitzchak—after Yitzchak had finished blessing Yaakov—than his brother Esau came back from his hunt.

ל  וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּלָּה יִצְחָק לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וַיְהִי אַךְ יָצֹא יָצָא יַעֲקֹב מֵאֵת פְּנֵי יִצְחָק אָבִיו וְעֵשָׂו אָחִיו בָּא מִצֵּידוֹ׃

31  He too prepared a dish and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may give me your innermost blessing.”

לא  וַיַּעַשׂ גַּם־הוּא מַטְעַמִּים וַיָּבֵא לְאָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר לְאָבִיו יָקֻם אָבִי וְיֹאכַל מִצֵּיד בְּנוֹ בַּעֲבוּר תְּבָרֲכַנִּי נַפְשֶׁךָ׃

32  His father Yitzchak said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, Esau, your first-born!”

לב  וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ יִצְחָק אָבִיו מִי־אָתָּה וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי בִּנְךָ בְכֹרְךָ עֵשָׂו׃

33  Yitzchak was seized with very violent trembling. “Who was it then,” he demanded, “that hunted game and brought it to me? Moreover, I ate of it before you came, and I blessed him; now he must remain blessed!”

לג  וַיֶּחֱרַד יִצְחָק חֲרָדָה גְּדֹלָה עַד־מְאֹד וַיֹּאמֶר מִי־אֵפוֹא הוּא הַצָּד־צַיִד וַיָּבֵא לִי וָאֹכַל מִכֹּל בְּטֶרֶם תָּבוֹא וָאֲבָרֲכֵהוּ גַּם־בָּרוּךְ יִהְיֶה׃

34  When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing, and said to his father, “Bless me too, Father!”

לד  כִּשְׁמֹעַ עֵשָׂו אֶת־דִּבְרֵי אָבִיו וַיִּצְעַק צְעָקָה גְּדֹלָה וּמָרָה עַד־מְאֹד וַיֹּאמֶר לְאָבִיו בָּרֲכֵנִי גַם־אָנִי אָבִי׃

35  But he answered, “Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.”

לה  וַיֹּאמֶר בָּא אָחִיךָ בְּמִרְמָה וַיִּקַּח בִּרְכָתֶךָ׃

36  [Esau] said, “Was he, then, named Yaakov that he might supplant me these two times? First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing!” And he added, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”

לו  וַיֹּאמֶר הֲכִי קָרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעֲקֹב וַיַּעְקְבֵנִי זֶה פַעֲמַיִם אֶת־בְּכֹרָתִי לָקָח וְהִנֵּה עַתָּה לָקַח בִּרְכָתִי וַיֹּאמַר הֲלֹא־אָצַלְתָּ לִּי בְּרָכָה׃

37  Yitzchak answered, saying to Esau, “But I have made him master over you: I have given him all his brothers for servants, and sustained him with grain and wine. What, then, can I still do for you, my son?”

לז  וַיַּעַן יִצְחָק וַיֹּאמֶר לְעֵשָׂו הֵן גְּבִיר שַׂמְתִּיו לָךְ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֶחָיו נָתַתִּי לוֹ לַעֲבָדִים וְדָגָן וְתִירֹשׁ סְמַכְתִּיו וּלְכָה אֵפוֹא מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה בְּנִי׃

38  And Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, Father? Bless me too, Father!” And Esau wept aloud.

לח  וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו אֶל־אָבִיו הַבְרָכָה אַחַת הִוא־לְךָ אָבִי בָּרֲכֵנִי גַם־אָנִי אָבִי וַיִּשָּׂא עֵשָׂו קֹלוֹ וַיֵּבְךְּ׃

39  And his father Yitzchak answered, saying to him, “See, your abode shall enjoy the fat of the earth And the dew of heaven above.

לט  וַיַּעַן יִצְחָק אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הִנֵּה מִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה מוֹשָׁבֶךָ וּמִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם מֵעָל׃

40  Yet by your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; But when you grow restive, You shall break his yoke from your neck.”

מ  וְעַל־חַרְבְּךָ תִחְיֶה וְאֶת־אָחִיךָ תַּעֲבֹד וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר תָּרִיד וּפָרַקְתָּ עֻלּוֹ מֵעַל צַוָּארֶךָ׃

41  Now Esau harbored a grudge against Yaakov because of the blessing which his father had given him, and Esau said to himself, “Let but the mourning period of my father come, and I will kill my brother Yaakov.”

מא  וַיִּשְׂטֹם עֵשָׂו אֶת־יַעֲקֹב עַל־הַבְּרָכָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּרֲכוֹ אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר