Composure – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)
Isaac intended to bless his son, Esau. Isaac tells his son (Genesis 27:2-5), "behold, I have reached old age and do not know the day of my death. Now, sharpen your hunting utensils, your sword, your bow, and go out to the field and hunt. Then make delicacies for me such as I love and bring them to me so I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die".
Rebecca overhears the conversation, tells Jacob, and advises him to bring two young goats from her personal flock. Then Rebecca prepares the delicacies the way Isaac loves them. She tells Jacob to bring the delicacies to Isaac so that Isaac may bless Jacob in place of his brother, Esau. Even though Isaac's vision was weak and he would not have recognized Jacob, still Jacob was worried, and said "my brother is a hairy man and I'm a smooth skinned man; perhaps my father will touch me and I will be a mockery. I will thus bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing" (Genesis 27:11-12). To combat this, (Genesis 27:15-16) "Rebecca took the clothing of Esau, her eldest son, his clean garments, which were with her in the house, and placed them on Jacob, her younger son. And with the skins of the goats she clothed his arms and smooth neck."
As soon as Isaac finishes blessing Jacob Esau enters with delicacies and asks for his blessings. Isaac asked, “who are you”? Esau answers, “I am Esau your first born.” (Genesis 27:32)
And Isaac trembled a great trembling." Isaac realized a mistake was made when he gave his blessings to Jacob. Isaac reacted, "who - where - is he, the one who caught game and brought it to me, and I ate it all when you (Esau) had not yet come, and I blessed him? He (Jacob) shall also be blessed!" (Genesis 27:33)
The Midrash Tanchuma (Compilation of Jewish Homiletic, 400 CE – 600 CE; Toldos 13) comments that in truth Isaac should have cursed Jacob for his actions. He did not. Instead, Isaac's reaction was, "He (Jacob) shall also be blessed." The Tanchuma quotes Proverbs (29:25), "The tremblings of man will make him stumble, if he trusts in G-d he will be exalted."
Isaac trembled, afraid he had mistakenly given the blessings to Jacob. Jacob seemingly took the blessings that did not belong to him. The logical reaction would be to lose composure and be angry with Jacob. Yet, Isaac was not. Instead, Isaac recognized that maybe he had made the mistake by wanting to give his blessing to Esau.
Isaac had trust in G-d and understood that what just happened was divine providence. Isaac's fear and trembling did not lead him to curse Jacob. Rather, Isaac was uplifted and realized that he was at fault throughout. As Proverbs explains, Isaac did not stumble through his fears but became exalted through his trust in G-d. Sometimes, all seems wrong and we lose our composure only to ultimately discover that everything was for the best.