Isaac blesses his son Jacob: "...And may G‑d give you of the dew of the heavens and of the fat of the earth..."1 The famed commentator Rashi explains the implication of the words "And may G‑d give you": "The Al-mighty will give, and give again."

What was missing in G‑d's initial giving, that could be perfected and completed by a second giving? Man is finite, limited; should he give even a magnificent and generous gift to another, it can still be improved upon by additional giving. But even the initial "gift" of the omnipotent and perfect Creator would be perfect. What could be added by "giving again"?

An analogy from the education of a pupil by his teacher might clarify the problem:

A teacher may reach two different levels of achievement with his pupil. He may successfully impart his knowledge to the pupil so that it is completely absorbed and becomes the pupil's own knowledge — but the pupil may still not be able to creatively develop the line of thought further on his own. There is a second, higher level of instruction in which the teacher so perfectly guides the pupil, that he develops the ability to exercise his own intellectual creativity on the subject, and further extends and expands — in his own unique contribution — the knowledge received.

The Mishna records an example of these two levels among the pupils of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai.2 One of Rabbi Yochanan's pupils was Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus and another was Rabbi Eliezer ben Aroch. "If all the wise men of Israel (including Eliezer ben Aroch)3 were on one end of a scale and Eliezer ben Hurkanus on the other, he would outweigh them all," states the Mishna. But then it declares, "If all the wise men of Israel were on one end of a scale, even together with Eliezer ben Hurkanus, and Eliezer ben Aroch was on the other end, he would outweigh them all!"

Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus was like " ... a cemented well that loses not even a drop." His reception and absorption of wisdom was superior even to that of Rabbi Eliezer ben Aroch. But Rabbi Eliezer ben Aroch was " a well-spring gushing with ever-increasing force," indicating an ability to expand, add and innovate. His creative genius was greater than that of Eliezer ben Hurkanus.

The implication of G‑d's "double blessing" that Isaac imparted to Jacob is now clear: not only would the Divine blessing itself be full and perfect, but it would also have the additional effect of enabling Jacob to extend and expand the blessing himself.4