One of my favorite movies was Inception. It is a fanciful science fiction movie in which a thief who steals corporate secrets through use of the dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of stealthily planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (Yes you should drop everything and watch this movie if you have not yet seen it.) What does it mean to give someone an idea without them even knowing it?
I was thinking about this idea recently when reading Chaye Sarah, this week’s Torah portion. There we read, “And Avraham gave all that he had to Yitzhak ” (Genesis 25:5). We learn in the the Midrash that Avraham had already given all of his property to Yitzhak (Genesis Rabbah 61:6). So what did Avraham give Yitzhak? Rashi explains:
Rabbi Nechemiah said: He gave him his right to dispense blessing, for the Holy One, blessed be God, had said to Avraham (Genesis 12:2)“ and you shall be a blessing,” i.e., the blessings are delivered into your hand to bless whomever you wish. And Avraham gave them over to Yitzhak.
So here we are at the end of Avraham’s life and he imparts to Yitzhak the ability to dispense blessing. The very nature of an idea of blessing is in of itself a profound idea. Giving blessings seems less like a special media or magical power and more like an inner realization. If you can conceive blessing you can give blessing. Avraham was the person who first person who conceived being Jewish, here we see the inception of being able to give a blessing. Though I do wonder where I got this idea.