Jacob’s Superior Blessing

by Rabbi Chanan Morrison

Before his death, Jacob blessed each of his sons. He blessed his beloved son Joseph with:”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 better than those of his parents?
What did he mean by the phrase “until the desired hills of eternity”?

Vision of a Future World

The blessings of Abraham and Sarah were revealed in the miracles that God performed for them — a son born to them at an advanced age, Divine protection when Pharaoh kidnapped Sarah. Isaac and Rebecca were similarly blessed with miraculous intervention when dealing with the Philistine king Abimelekh.

Jacob prayed that his son should also be blessed with miraculous protection when needed. This is what he meant by “blessings of heaven above.” However, Jacob stipulated that his blessings should be revealed within the context of the natural physical world. Thus, he emphasized that they should also be “blessings of the abyss lying beneath.”

This is truly an amazing blessing, reflecting a higher level of spiritual influence. Unlike a miracle that disrupts the physical realm, Jacob prayed that the physical world itself will be elevated and uplifted.

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 are infinitely expanded. Thus, Jacob explained that his blessing was “until the desired hills of eternity.” In other words, this vision belongs to a future world, a universe infinitely elevated and boundless.

(adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol. II, p. 203)

Copyright © 2006 by Chanan Morrison

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