It happens twice in our daf (Moed Katan 9b). A son is encouraged by his father to receive a bracha from one, or more, great Rabbis. The son goes and receives the bracha, but he thinks that the words of the Rabbi/s is meaningless, and in one of the two cases, even offensive. But afterwards, the father explains to the son the true meaning of the bracha he has received.
In the first case, the son of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai is sent by his father to Rabbi Yonatan ben Asmai and Rabbi Yehuda ben Gerim to receive a bracha, who bless him with the words: ‘May it be the will [of G-d] that you sow and not reap, that you take in and not bring out [and] bring out and not take in. Let your house be destroyed and let your inn be inhabited. Let your table be disturbed. And may you not see a new year.’
Upon returning to his father, the son complains, ‘it was not enough that they did not bless me, but they caused me pain with what they said.’ However, Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai then explains the words of the bracha that his son had just received.
In the second case, the son of Rav is sent by his father to Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta to receive a bracha, who bless him with the words: ‘May it be the [the will of G-d] that you do not embarrass [others] and that you not be embarrassed [by others].’
Upon returning to his father, the son complains, ‘[Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta] simply said mundane words to me’. However, Rav then explains the words of the bracha that his son had just received.
We wonder, in both cases though especially in the second where the bracha was far less cryptic, what the issue was with these two young men? Of course, it is hard to know what they were thinking. However, it is possible to suggest that their expectation was that these great Rabbis would give them a blessing that G-d would provide them with material success (eg. money), or perhaps professional success (eg. knowledge).
However, the first blessing spoke of the having a healthy family, while the second blessing spoke of living a dignified life and treating others with dignity.
At times, people – and especially (although not exclusively) young people – think that the blessing of a healthy family and the ability to live a dignified life while treating others with dignity is something somewhat mundane, and perhaps even a little boring. Instead, when they pray and dream and seek blessings, they often wish for fame, fortune, and success.
Admittedly, professional success has its place. At the same time, we often unfortunately confuse financial and professional success with personal happiness and with living a meaningful and moral life.
When Rav’s son complained to his father that ‘[Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta] simply said mundane words to me’, Rav responded, ‘[on the contrary], he blessed you with the ultimate blessing’. And just as it was true then, so too it is true now.