torah interpretation requires one’s head and mind to be on a swivel. the past and the future can be a means of interpreting the present. while interpretation can take all forms and look at the mere present to find meaning, there are greater connections to be found.
thus, israel’s death bed scene may answer past questions. the parallelism to isaac’s death bed scene is remarkable. the torah makes not of isaac’s both greatness and very greatness prior to his passing. he was more than “gadol.” was his exceeding greatness displayed on his passing?
like with isaac’s death bed, israel made his blessings out of order. in fact, he blessed
like with isaac’s death bed, israel’s blessings out of order. in fact, he blessed joseph’s younger son ephraim with the first born blessing in lieu of his older brother. this was intentional and it meant to do with the younger to be greater than the older.
this intend was done even though it was noted that israel was blind at the time. isaac too was blind when he made his blessings. the apparent difference was that israel, who was known as jacob at the time, was employing deception to procure the blessing. he allegedly was taking advantage of his father’s blindness.
israel’s actions suggest something with respect to isaac’s passing. perhaps, isaac was fully aware of the deception and still went forward with the blessing. it was isaac who knew and was testing the master of the universe as to which son was to continue the covenant. isaac, in his questioning of jacob, opened the door for divine intervention. the same intervention that prevented his father, abraham, from sacrificing him. yet, this intervention did not come. surely, an angel or the master of the universe himself would have intervened! isaac’s faith was tested and he tested the master in doing do. in sum, isaac trusted that the master of the universe would protect him from making such an important mistake.
one may then ask, what is the point?
these episodes give readers insight into what greatness is and how greatness operates. greatness, at times, requires subtlety. the great operate on a higher plain than others. they are the ones who are playing 3-d chess while others are playing checkers. us, the “not so great,” have much to learn from this greatness. isaac could have easily come out and exposed jacob on his death bed. his mind, however, likely figured out what was transpiring. perhaps tasting of the stew clued him in that his wife was also in on the plot. he exhibited faith that the master of the universe would ensure that, despite the uncertainty, he was blessing the right son for the purposes of his legacy.
greatness in parenting has challenges. when to speak up and when to remain silent is perhaps the greatest of challenges. these two stories evidence both approaches.
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