Yitzchak blesses his two sons.

Ya'acov blesses his twelve sons and even a couple of grandsons.

Even Noach tells of the future of his sons.

Does Avraham ever formally bless Yitzchak? If so, why doesn't the text record the content of the blessing?

One might say he doesn't have to because at the end of his life, Avraham had only 1 son (effectively, as he had sent away his other son, Yishma'el) but the text relates that Avraham had other children and in Bereishit 25:5 says that Avraham gave Yitzchak all that he had, to differentiate what he passed down to Yitzchak from other children. But while the Malbim says that this includes spirituality, the text records no actual blessing.

Is the content of a blessing here unnecessary because the text attests to "kol asher lo" all that was to Avraham? Would this mean that any written up blessing implicitly excludes certain things?

Does that mean that a formalized blessing is only used to divide up or apportion when there is potential for confusion. Blessing is then not about explicitly passing a role or yoke – just about codifying who gets that yoke or only some parts of it?

  • +1 for the thought provoking question. But, I'm curious if the phrasing of G-d's blessing to Yitzhak at the beginning of parshat Toldot would not in some way seem as if Avraham did it. I state this because the wording of the blessing says something like "because of my servant Avraham" which seems to be a rather specific phrasing that I don't think we find with Ya'akov.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 23:49

2 Answers 2


Rashi to Bereishis 25:11 quotes the Gemara in Sotah 14 that, as Avraham foresaw that Eisav would descend from Yitzchak, he was afraid to give Yitzchak the Brachos, fearing that they would go to Eisav as well. He decided to leave it to HaShem whether Yitzchak should get the Brachos or not, and, indeed, HaShem gave them to Yitzchak in the aforementioned passuk.

  • I like this -- it is reminiscent of the B"Rabba 61:6. But I still wonder, then, what spiritual gifts does the Malbim refer to? I saw one commentary which says "his share of olam haba".
    – rosends
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 18:07
  • Are you sure that Rashi cites this interpretation from Sotah? Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 15:12

Refer to the Targum Yonasan on Bereishis 25:11 which writes:

וּמִן בִּגְלַל דְלָא הֲוָה אַבְרָהָם צָבֵי לִבְרָכָא יַת יִשְׁמָעֵאל בְּגִין כֵּן לָא בְּרִיךְ יַת יִצְחָק דְאִין הֲוָה מְבָרֵךְ לְיִצְחָק וְלָא מְבָרֵךְ לְיִשְׁמָעֵאל הֲוָה נְטִיר לֵיהּ בָּבוֹי וּבָתַר דְמִית אַבְרָהָם בְּרִיךְ יְיָ יַת יִצְחָק וְיָתֵב יִצְחָק סָמִיךְ לְבֵירָא דְאִתְגְלֵי עֲלוֹי יְקַר חַי וְקַיָים דְחָמֵי וְלָא אִתְחָמֵי

And because Avraham had not designed (i.e. felt it appropriate) to bless Yishmael, so too he did not bless Yitzchak; for had he blessed Yitzchak and not Yishmael, he (Yishmael) would have harboured resentment. But, after the death of Avraham, Hashem blessed Yitzchak; and Yitzchak dwelt near the well at which was revealed the glory of the Living and Eternal One, who sees and is not seen.

So it would seem that Avraham avoided formally blessing Yitzchak lest it provoke the ire of Yishmael. When Avraham died, it would seem that Hashem 'formally' blessed him.

  • 1
    See Divrei Yoel on this week's sedrah who quotes that targum and asks if so, why did Yitzchak not refrain from blessing his children for the same reason.
    – The GRAPKE
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 2:17
  • Interesting @GRAPKE thank you!
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 9:55

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