וַיֶּחֱרַד יִצְחָק חֲרָדָה גְּדֹלָה עַד מְאֹד
“Yitzchok trembled greatly.”
ראה גיהנם פתוחה מתחתיו
“He saw gehinnom open beneath him.”
Why did Yitzchok only see gehinnom when Esav came to ask for a berachah? Why did he not seen Esav’s true nature previously?
When Yitzchok told Esav that Yaakov had taken the berochos, Esav said:
וַיֹּאמֶר הֲכִי קָרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעֲקֹב וַיַּעְקְבֵנִי זֶה פַעֲמַיִם אֶת בְּכֹרָתִי לָקָח וְהִנֵּה עַתָּה לָקַח בִּרְכָתִי
“And Esav said – rightfully is he called Yaakov as he has cheated me twice. He took my bechoro and now he has also taken my berocho.”
- Why was Esav upset that Yaakov took the bechoroh when he willingly sold it to him?
- It appears from the passuk that the fact that Yaakov took the berochos was a continuation of his taking of the bechoroh, why are these connected?
Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner z”l (Pachad Yitzchok, Pesach 83) explains as follows:
Every beracha is composed of two parts, an internal berocho, which is the connection between the mevorech and the misborech, and an external berocho, which is the material benefit that the berocho bestows.
In order to receive the berachos, Esav had to allow Yitzchok to see who he truly was so that he could receive the inner berocho. Yitzchok only saw gehinnom open up when Esav came to receive the berachos because only then did Esav reveal his true nature.
By selling the bechoroh, which included the right to the kehunah and to the the avodah, Esav demonstrated that he did not want to continue on Yitzchok’s avodas Hashem. He was subsequently unable to receive the internal berocho from Yitzchok because he had disconnected himself from him. This is why Esav said “He has taken my bechoroh and now he has taken by berocho,” through selling the bechoroh he lost the berochos.
Yitzchok had the greatest berocho of all the avos. He reaped meah shearim – a hundred times the expected harvest, and there was so much berocho associated with anything that Yitzchok owned that the servants of Avimelech said; “Rather the dung from Yitzchok’s donkeys that the silver and gold of Avimelech.”
What was the source of this berocho?
The passuk says in Parshas Bechukosai:
וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוֹב וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם אֶזְכֹּר וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכֹּר
“I will remember my bris with Yaakov and also my bris with Yitzchok and also my bris with Avrohom I will remember and I will remember the land.”
Regarding the bris with Avrohom and Yaakov, the passuk uses the word zechirah – remembering, but not regarding the bris with Yitzchak. Rashi brings the Toras Cohanim which says:
למה נאמר ביעקב ובאברהם זכירה וביצחק לא נאמר זכירה? אלא רואין את אפרו כאלו הוא צבור על גבי המזבח
“Why does it say zechirah regarding Avrohom and Yaakov but not regarding Yitzchok? This is because it is as if Yitzchok’s ashes are piled up on the mizbeach.” (The ashes of Yitzchok from the akeda are seen to be still piled on the mizbeach, it is not necessary to remember them because they still there.)
The berocho that Hashem gives is not limited by Hashem, rather it is limited by our ability to perceive and accept the berocho. Yitzchok totally nullified himself to Hashem’s will at the akeida and in his mind had turned himself to ashes on the mizbeach. Because of the lack of chatzitzah between himself and Hashem, he was able to receive the full berocho that Hashem provides.
Just as Yitzchok received his berocho by removing any barrier between himself and Hashem, so Yaakov received his berachah by buying the bechoroh and the avodah from Esav and accepting the ways of Yitzchok and Avrohom.