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The Most Powerful Blessing

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

What is the most powerful blessing you can receive? A blessing that tells you who you really are. In this week’s Torah portion, Yaakov Avinu blesses his children, yet some of them receive not only a blessing, but also a rebuke. Yaakov tells Reuven, for example, that he is impatient and impulsive; Shimon and Levi are chastised for their anger, for their violent acts, for their reliance on brute force.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe comments as follows:

“The deepest, most important issue for any human being is his character – specifically, the character traits which animate his soul. Yaakov Avinu reveals his children’s character traits to them directly. This is a wonderful favor since a person can live an entire lifetime without knowing who he is. The most powerful and beneficial blessing a person can receive tells him who he truly is, including not only his positive qualities but his deficiencies as well. When a person is cautioned about a certain character trait, this awareness alone may motivate him to develop fully as a human being. Only if we are blessed with an awareness of our deficiencies can we save ourselves from them, fix and improve ourselves. To be told who we really are is thus the finest, most powerful blessing we can receive.”

  • The above dvar Torah is dedicated to the elevation of the soul of Moti Ben Shabbat, of blessed memory, who was 38 years old and lived in Nahariya. A person of outstanding character traits, he heroically sacrificed his life to save the lives of others surrounded and trapped by floodwaters.


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