For the week of December 25, 2004 / 13 Tevet 5765
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 47:28 - 50:26
Haftarah: 1 Kings 2:1-12
A Father's Blessing
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him. (Bereshit / Genesis 49:28)
Shortly before Jacob, who was also called Israel, passed away he took the time to formally bless his twelve sons. The giving of a father's blessing is not something that most people are familiar with in our own day. I am aware that this has become more popular in some circles, but my guess is that most people wouldn't understand why something like this is important.
There are some people who think that our lack of receiving blessing from our fathers is the cause of many problems in our lives. Concepts like "the father wound" attest that there is a great need in our hearts for good relationships with our fathers. The movie "Field of Dreams" has had a profound effect on many people, especially men. "Field of Dreams" is the fanciful story of a middle-aged man who, having never reconciled with his father while his father was still alive, is given an opportunity to do so. The popularity of such a film reveals how many people there are who never received their father's blessing.
Our fathers have a special role to play in our discovery of who we are in life. That is why a father telling his child statements like "You'll never amount to anything" has such a devastating effect. On the other hand, a father who lovingly affirms his child is giving him a solid foundation towards developping into a healthy, well-adjusted adult.
But if current trends continue, more and more people will grow up without a father's blessing. Not only that, many will grow up with no relationship to a father at all. Some will not even have a biological father as science paves the way to make fatherhood obsolete. The result will be a level of lost-ness in the hearts of people that has never before seen in history.
You might be someone who fully understands all this. You long for your father's blessing, but have no hope of ever receiving it. Maybe your father is no longer alive. You know that stories like "Field of Dreams" are only for books and movies. Maybe your father is alive, but the nature of your relationship is such that you believe he will never bless you. Maybe so.
Thankfully whatever your relationship is to your biological father, there is another Father, who longs to bless you. God, the Heavenly Father, has the ability to heal the father wound in you. What was only fantasy in "Field of Dreams" can become reality – not that you will be able to satisfactory address every unresolved issue you have with your earthly father, but the greater Father can mend every broken part of your heart.
This is not to say that we should not hope for resolution with our early fathers. In fact allowing the Heavenly Father to heal us will most likely be the beginning of healing with our natural dads. God's desire is for us to have good, healthy relationships with our natural parents. It is true that due to our broken state, we will not see every relationship flourish the way they were meant to. Still, if we would receive God's blessing, we will begin to see even our broken relationships in a new light.
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