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Parashat Toldot 5766

In the parasha of the blessings, the Torah tells us that Yitzchak requested that Eisav prepare matamim (delicacies) for him before he blessed him. The matamim are repeated six times in this short parasha. Why are these matamim so significant that the Torah repeats them again and again?

Additionally, when Yaakov stands disguised before Yitzchak, Yitzchak asks his son to approach him
and kiss him. As Yaakov does this, Yitzchak smells his clothing, blesses him, and says, \u201cSee, the scent
of my son is like the scent of a field blessed by Hashem\u201d (Bereishit 27:27). The Rishonim challenge
this, asking why Yitzchak refers to this as the scent of his son when it is really the scent of his son\u2019s
clothing. The Chizkuni explains that the passuk should be read as if it was written as follows: \u201cSee, my
son, the scent of these clothes is like the scent of a field blessed by Hashem.\u201d However, in the course
of things, we will try to understand the passuk as it is actually written, explaining what Yitzchak really
meant by mentioning \u201cthe scent of my son\u201d rather than \u201cthe scent of my son\u2019s clothing.\u201d

The passuk describing the scent of Yaakov\u2019s clothing is problematic in another way as well. After
Yitzchak smells Yaakov\u2019s clothing, the Torah says: \u201cAnd he blessed him and said, \u2018See, the scent of
my son is like the scent of a field blessed by Hashem.\u2019\u201d The very next passuk quotes the actual
blessing: \u201cMay Hashem give you the dew of the heavens\u2026\u201d Seemingly, the phrase \u201cand he blessed
him\u201d is in the wrong place! It should appear immediately before the actual blessing, not before
Yitzchak describes his son\u2019s scent!

The answer to these three questions is as follows: Yitzchak knew exactly who his children were.
Before the blessings, the Torah tells us how disappointed Yitzchak was when Eisav married two Hittite
women (26:34-5). Before he died, Yitzchak wanted to inspire Eisav to do teshuvah. Yitzchak hoped
that after Eisav prepared the matamim\u2014turning raw, bloody meat from an animal in the field into
sumptuous meat\u2014and brought them before his father, Yitzchak would be able to ask him why he
couldn\u2019t analogously improve the quality of his own life, inspiring him to do teshuvah. The matamim
take up such a great role because they were meant to be the tool through which Yitzchak wished to
illustrate for Eisav what he needed to do to himself. What Yitzchak didn\u2019t realize, however, was that it
was impossible for Eisav to add quality to his life, since he lacked reiach (scent). Reiach represents
pnimiut. (The gemara says that reiach is something only the neshama benefits from.)

When Yitzchak smells Yaakov, however, he detects not only the smell of Yaakov\u2019s clothing, but of
Yaakov himself. Yitzchak is able to see that the reiach of his son, not his clothing\u2014his pnimiut, not
his chitzoniut\u2014is like the reiach of Gan Eden. This declaration is part of the blessing as well. \u201cAnd he
blessed him\u201d does not refer only to the material blessing of the dew of the heavens and the fat of the
land, but to the spiritual blessing that Yaakov would always retain his pnimiut, to guide his actions and
protect him.

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