When Yaakov Avinu enters his father's presence, Yitzchak Avinu "smelled the fragrance of his garments and blessed him." Rashi explains that the fragrance refers to the scent of
that entered with him. How did this fragrance connect to the garments that Yaakov wore, and why does the blessing begin with the connective "and"? What is it connecting?
quotes the Midrash that the scent was the aroma of the
offering in the future
, or that it was the same smell he sensed at the time he was bound as an offering to Hashem. The
says it was the aroma of
where Adam was originally placed at the site of the
are the source of blessing. When Adam sinned and was exiled from
, he lost his original spiritual garment that was replaced by physical animal skin garments. This spiritual aroma is still available on Shabbat when Hashem gives us an additional soul, which we wish to retain by smelling the
spices at the end of the day. Yaakov Avinu is the nexus that connects these ideas. He is the repair for Adam and his sin. He "meets" the place of total spirituality and recognizes it as the gate to heaven. This is the site of the future
from which the blessings will emerge for the world. And it is already part of Yitzchak blessing to Yaakov, that his descendants should carry this fragrance with them throughout their lives.
The only sense not involved in the sin and completely connected to
was the sense of smell, writes the
. Once the fruit was tasted, good and evil were mixed together, and it was hard to discern which was which. The essence of
is to separate good from evil. With every
we emphasize the positive and separate it from the negative. We say in Tehillim, "
will praise Hashem; "which implies that even the evil are included in the sense of smell and retain some holiness.
notes that Yaakov and Esau represent the struggle between good and evil. But good cannot develop its full potential without a struggle. Therefore, it was necessary to have both these children together, and for Esau to develop a natural antipathy to Yaakov. Only then would Yaakov struggle so greatly to overcome his own natural, human tendencies. This is also evident throughout Jewish history. In times of great anti -Semitism the unaffiliated begin to avow their connection to Judaism.
The incense offering in the
was a mixture of many sweet spices but also included one foul - smelling spice, the
. The negative is around us, and we must protect ourselves from it. Yitzchak thought that because Yaakov didn't have that strong
, he did not need the blessing, whereas Esau needed more help. Rivka understood that Yaakov, in his naivete, needed to learn to differentiate between good and evil. Therefore, when Yaakov comes into Yitzchak 's presence, Yitzchak smells the
, and realizes that we can't survive in this world in a state of apathy, but we need to struggle. And when we have these challenges, we must remember that they are for our good, to make us struggle to find the light and work toward it.
Our war against Amalek took place in Refidim, where we were weak spiritually as well as physically, notes Rabbi Yoffe z"l, citing Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman H"yd. We need to strengthen ourselves in Torah. That is how we destroy Amalek. That is the blessing of the
, of the
and of the field. We need to learn to separate the two and appreciate the resistance we get from the "
moments" in our lives that force us to struggle and grow stronger. The
notes that the clothing of the
are our actions, whether sweet or foul, and our
emit corresponding scents. These sweet aromas of our
and mitzvoth are the scents originating in the apple fields of
, and this is what Yitzchak smelled when Yaakov entered, writes the
. It was the scent of a spiritual struggle that Yitzchak sensed.
Sichot Baavodat Hashem
notes that when we recite a
, our focus should be on the goodness of Hashem. Do we recognize the spiritual gift and blessing in each positive experience? Everything in this world was created for His glory, and everything therefore has a spark of spirituality within it, adds Rabbi Wolbe z"l.
Rabbi A. Tatz writes that we come to understand a person's essence through his clothes and through his actions. Similarly, the only way we can "know" Hashem is through the physical manifestations of His creations, of the world. The human consciousness retains a strong connection to its original home. The soul yearns for its origin in the spiritual world, for the place of its closeness with its Creator. It searches to acquire its beauty through Torah,
. Each detail of our lives is a projection of the deeper reality of our souls. When Yaakov enters his very being emits the sweet fragrance of his being. When Esau enters, he brings with him the odor his essence contains. Yitzchak can literally smell the difference.
As we meander through the course of our lives, what aromas are we trying to extract and surround ourselves with? May we, the descendants of Yaakov Avinu, merit the true fragrance of