This week’s parshah, Parshas Vayeitzei, continues Yaakov’s journey to Charan, to Lavan’s house. On the way, he stops to spend the night, and in his dream, Hashem appears to him. Hashem introduces Himself to Yaakov by saying, “ אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ וֵאלֹהֵי יִצְחָק” “I am Hashem, the God of your father Avraham, and the God of Yitzchak…” (Bereishis 28:13). The question here is very obvious, how come Hashem only calls Avraham, Yaakov’s father and not Yitzchak? He could have said it only by Yitzchak or He could have said it by both of them, how come by Yitzchak He didn’t say it at all?
There are several answers given to this question. A commonly given answer is that this is the pasuk that proves that grandchildren are considered like children, a common idea found in the Torah. It might seem obvious, but without this original source, we wouldn’t know it!
The Ohr HaChaim offers another explanation. The most valuable inheritance that Yitzchak could offer his children was the inheritance of Avraham that his descendants would become Hashem’s special nation. By saying that Avraham was Yaakov’s father, Hashem is promising Yaakov that he will receive this inheritance. If Hashem would have mentioned Yitzchak as Yaakov’s father, then Avraham’s inheritance could just as easily gone to Esav.
The Ohr HaChaim asks, by that same reasoning, couldn’t Avraham’s inheritance have gone to Yishmael instead of Yitzchak? How come saying that Avraham is Yaakov’s father solves this problem? The answer is that Yishmael’s mother, Hagar, was a servant in Avraham’s house. As such, he had no right to any inheritance. Esav, however, was the son of Rivka, and had as much right to the inheritance as Yaakov did.
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