Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

When Yaakov was about to bless his grandchildren, he declared: האלוקים אשר התהלכו אבותי לפניו אברהם ויצחק האלוקים הרעה אותי מעודי עד היום הזה

“The God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has shepherded me since I existed unto this day.” (Breishit 48:15)


Resh Lakish compares Avraham and Yitzchak to elders walking before the king, whereas according to R. Yochanan the appropriate comparison is to a shepherd with his flock. (Midrash Raba 97:2)

The king’s prestige is enhanced by elders in the entourage. The Avot promulgated belief in Hashem in the world. The king cares for his subjects. The Avot were subject to enhanced “Hashgacha Pratit”. Netziv explains that while both of these comparisons are sound, and apply to the relationship of Hashem and our forefathers, Yaakov did not want to attribute merit to himself, and limited the comparison to a shepherd and flock. He refers to the Midrash that connects the episode of Dina for attributing credit to himself when erecting the altar in Shechem. (33:20)

Following the lead of the Avot, we should enhance Kiddush Hashem, appreciate His providence, and be especially humble.

Shabbat Shalom

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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh