In Parashat Toldot, Isaac wrongfully blesses Yaakov instead of Esav. In the Halachah IIRC, most things made wrongfully are illegal and are void, like monetary contracts or marriages.

I don't really know what a blessing is, but for people that hold that it is something, a form of a contract or spiritual influence, Halachicly speaking, why a wrongful blessing wouldn't be simply void?

  • It was null. He then says after he realizes the situation גם ברוך יהיה
    – Double AA
    Nov 28, 2020 at 22:46
  • See Ralbag’s commentary at length.
    – Alex
    Nov 28, 2020 at 22:54
  • Or Hachaim Genesis 27:24 When he articulated the blessings he concentrated on the person opposite him without regard to that person's name. This actually made Jacob the true recipient of the blessings, even though Isaac had made mention of Esau. sefaria.org/Or_HaChaim_on_Genesis.27.24?lang=bi
    – code613
    Nov 29, 2020 at 3:04
  • @code613 the fact that he continuously asked to prove his recipient's identity is a clear negation of this speculation.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 30, 2020 at 20:03
  • Okay, it looks like the blessing articulation in Genesis 27:24 would ensure all the blessings would not have to be redone all over again. It looks like it still needed to be confirmed again as Or Hachaim says..."This prompted Isaac to confirm his blessing. He may also have been afraid to bring a curse upon himself if he were to revoke the blessing." sefaria.org/…... without Genesis 27:24 however it looks like all the blessings would still have to be redone all over again?
    – code613
    Dec 1, 2020 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


Good question. And I have asked that question a dozen times. When Isaac realized it was Jacob, why couldn't he retract the blessing? Aren't blessing allowed to be nullified? What is a blessing? Do blessings work?

The only answer I could come up with was that Isaac could not retract the blessing because he did not know how to do so. The Rambam said that the patriarchs did not have the Torah. Or, we might say, as Double AA pointed out, that he blessed Esau too.

  • I don't think your answer addresses the question "why". I also could not understand the link to having the Torah - why is that relevant to blessings?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2020 at 21:02

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