by Rav Yaakov bar Nahman
So much to learn, so many pointers to our lives and world are hidden in our precious Holy Torah. While what I tell here sounds like great tales of the doings of great men and women, it is a pattern and guide for what we the little ones must do in our lives as well. Read, read again, get into what is said here and do what you can and must do. This includes Bnei Noahh as well as Jews.
And remember as stern as things might sound, do it with joy, the joy of holiness. Keep to joy, for only thus can you keep from falling into the awaiting net of the evil serpent who desires your sadness and despair.
"And Yisshhak was 40 years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of Bethuel the Arami from Padan Aram, the sister of Lavan the Arami, to be his wife." [25:20] We already know her family relations from last week's parashah so what do we need this reminder for? The hint to that is in what Hhaza"l told of the term "the Arami" which has the same letters as the Hebrew word for a con man 'rama'i. Yisshhak's young wife was extracted from the bad influence of her evil family. She was a pure soul, deposited hidden there for him to receive when the time was right. At which point she was to be taken away from there.
Twenty years later after a lot of prayer by both of the couple, Rivkah became pregnant, Mazal Tov. Yet it was not a comfortable pregnancy. The belly was big and a three-ring circus raging inside, and she was alone: no mother, no aunt, not even a mother-in-law to help and comfort her. She cried out, "… im kein lama zeh anokhi?" ["…if this is so what is my life about?"]. Being the pious righteous person she was she went to ask what HaShem will answer to that question. In due term she gave birth to twins as was in the reply she got.
The first one out, Esav, was born covered with hair, much like a furry animal, and with teeth and an adult's face already at birth. Again much like an animal. And indeed he was a wild thing.
His very name, based on the Hebrew word "Asui", shows his essence. He was born appearing as a completed adult. His personality was such that he felt that he already knew everything, he didn't need to listen to anyone else. He knew better and he can do as he chooses. He was the innate rebel incarnate. This klipah appears in people throughout the ages. It is even more common in our generation. There are children in this generation whose tikun includes being born with sparks of this klipah which they must repair. The work is hard, both on them and those around them. Yet as hard as it is, it is important for the finishing off of the Esav/Primordial Serpent-Sam'M in order to bring about the final Geula.
Most people are born a mixture of good and not good traits. But here we have twins in whom one was all good traits and the second full of bad traits. There are of our sages who stated that the two split between them the traits: Yaakov was born with the good-traits side and Esav the others.
This we see in several examples, among them in the incident of the bean stew. Esav returned to the home encampment from a day of murder, cruelly forced "relationships", theft etc, and his hunt for the day had failed. He was hungry, tired, and probably exhausted. He saw his twin brother making a stew of red lentils. Avraham had passed away and Yaakov was making a traditional lentil based meal for their father, Yisshhak, who was in mourning.
So came about the famous deal of Esav trading off his birthright for a bowl of stew and a pita. Now when we read this we wonder, "What was he a Cretin, was he crazy?" After all had he asked politely for a bit of chow like a normal man, Yaakov would likely not have thought of the slick deal. In either case, had he been a normal person and not the hedonist he was, he would have replied something on the order of, "Yo bro' we're family, brothers, you bein' funny?', and ended the incident with a bowl of stew and pita at no charge.
Yet Yaakov knew well what a furry wild beast-man his brother was.
Esav's reply showed how right the younger twin was too. "Vayomer Esav, hinei anokhi holekh lamut velama zeh li berokha?" ["And Esav said, here I am going to die so what good is the birthright to me?"] He felt like he was "dying from exhaustion and hunger". Patience and ability to withstand some temporary discomfort were not among his traits. Esav also knew all too well that the birthright from Yisshhak, which was a Holy Inheritance from their grandfather Avraham, was more than material wealth. It was a spiritual wealth that entailed a big spiritual responsibility. He would have to leave his hedonistic wild life style, live a pure life, learn Torah and even worse teach to the many in order to awaken the masses to the truth of The One Eternal Ephemeral Divine Creator and Eternal World King. This immense responsibility he was most happy to be rid of.
The above mentioned pasuk is joined by a hint in another place to show us what his attitude was. We can also learn from similar wording a totally different attitude in their pious mother.
His words are "hinei anokhi" ["Here I am"] and .."velama zeh li" ["and what is it worth to me?"]; as opposed to Rivkah's "lama zeh anokhi?" ["what is my life about?"]. Those slightly different words as chosen by both of them - "lama zeh anokhi?" vs "velama zeh li berokha?" along with the different "te'amim" [cantilations] show us that the meanings were very different. Rivkah wanted to understand her suffering, the meaning of her life. Esav despised his birthright; to him it was less desirable than a bowl of stew and a pita.
Our sages said, "Maaseh avoth siman lebanim" [The actions of the fathers/ancestors are a sign for the sons/descendants].
Rivkah in her quandary and tribulation turned to HaShem to ask HIS guidance and help. Esav turned to his lusts and physical desires, looking for easy and irresponsible ways to fulfill them. The spiritual/moral line of Rivkah is through Yaakov – to Bnei Yisrael whose true way of life is patterned after Rivkah. Esav's heirs in turn developed religions of lusts, idolatry and even the constructed one that deifies a hung corpse of a rebel who ran away from the 613 commandments, but doesn't even comply with the 7 Noahhide commandments.
Today there is a growing minority of Esav's descendants who are repenting and taking on the seven, or doing a full giur/conversion to Judaism. But those who do not do so, will not have a place in the world to come after Mashiahh's repairs.
Each and every one of us must daily do a self check. Are we in the mode of Rivkah/Yaakov or of Lavan/Esav? We must seek and repair, or as in an army service "search and rescue". Rescue yourself from the dark side.
Another thing to learn from the above incident is shown in pasuk 25:34. "… vayokhal vayeisht vayakaom vayeilekh vayeivez Esav et habekhorah." ["… ate, and drank and got up and went and Esav despised the birthright"].
The letters of the Hebrew word for birthright [bekhora] are the same as for blessing [berakha]. Esav ate and drank without blessing before or after his meal. He despised. What did he despise? He was an ingrate. He made no mention of recognizing what HaShem did to make the food and drink available to him, and no mention of thanking HaShem after his repast. HaShem does not like ingrates. These two men, Esav & Yaakov, were to be the spiritual pillars of the world. Esav held the job in disdain. Blessing? Who needs to bless over food?
In effect he was saying, "I don't need to do a blessing, I don't need no birthright and no birth certificate. I just want to receive what I would if I did bless and did have the birthright and birth certificate!" That was his attitude. Hmmmm. Some people have the klipah to repair and some have it to be part of the Sitra Ahhra-Dark Side powers to battle against the side of HaShem, the Power of Light.
No appreciation? Fine let's see how you feel when the pipeline gets stoppered up!
Immediately after, we have the pasuk of Esav despising the birthright/blessing we have 26:1 "And there was a famine in the land…."
Oh oh now you gone 'n' done it Esav. You jerk. Your despicable behavior, your irresponsibility and lack of gratitude has shut down the pipeline for the entire region. He was danged lucky that the various tribes in the land had zero inkling that he caused the famine. They would have stood in line to kill him.
As the time went by Rivkah with a caring aware and holy mother's eyes/soul saw clearly what her two sons were about. When the time came near for her husband's passing and therefore his giving of his parting blessings and assigning of the heritage, she knew that she had to act to ensure that it went to the correct son.
Here she used her inherited talent of intrigue, for good purpose. Yes the end does not always justify the means but as it is said in Shmuel 2:22:26 and in Tehilim 18:26-27: "With the merciful be you merciful, with the upright man be you upright. With the pure be you pure; and with the crooked be you subtle/clever."
כו) עִם חָסִיד תִּתְחַסָּד עִם גְּבַר תָּמִים תִּתַּמָּם:
כז) עִם נָבָר תִּתְבָּרָר וְעִם עִקֵּשׁ תִּתְפַּתָּל:
Rivkah saw that Esav was unworthy of being a candidate for continuing the supremely important work of Avraham and Yisshhak to bring the light of HaShem to the world. Indeed he was quite the opposite of that. So she devised the trick that arranged for Yaakov the pure one of the two and the proper candidate to get the birthright blessings and assignment.
But that triggered such intense ire in Esav the "dethroned" one that he was bent on murdering his chosen brother.
Rivkah's high soul saw forward and inward and she sent Yaakov on another spiritual "Search & Rescue" mission, a triple one at that. First of all to rescue him from his violent murderous brother, and thereby also save the heritage line of Mashiahh. Second was to rescue Leah from marriage to Esav. Esav was an incarnation of the Primordial Serpent/Sam"M, Leah of Hhava, and Yaakov of Adam. Now Yaakov/Adam had the chance to rescue Leah/Hhava from Esav/Sam"M. This would the first in several steps to repair the damage from the incident of the forbidden fruit in Gan Eden.
Leah knew of the impending hazard of being married to Esav and was terrified of it. She cried a lot over it. Rahhel too was to add to the repair in the union of Yaakov as Yisrael to the higher soul level of Rahhel as we learn in the Holy Kabala.
While Yehudah, son of Leah would be the root father of the Mashiahh ben David which was another reason for rescuing Leah/Hhava from Esav/Sam"M; the two sons of Rahhel would also be important components of the framework of the nation and land of Yisrael and the Geula.
Part of the land on which the Beit Hamikdash and Royal complex would be built would be in the sector of Benyamin. Shaul the first official king of Yisrael would be from the tribe of Benyamin. He was even given the opportunity to be Mashiahh, but fouled up and lost that honor (which therefore turned back to the tribe of Yehudah).
Yosef would be an interim king via the position of viceroy in Egypt. He was also an essential part of the unfolding of the prophecy of the slavery in the furnace which shaped and tempered the budding nation.
Along with that he was the root father of inter-tribal contention that caused the destruction of the first beit Mikdash and the first exile. Also the core root of intramural strife between groups of Jews till today. The final repair will be when Mashiahh ben Yosef will have to surrender and become subject to Mashiahh ben David. This will open the final steps of the final full true Geula, the final and total fall of Esav/Sam"M and bring into being the coronation of Mashiahh ben David with the repair of the world.
Then will all the waiting be fulfilled. The water of Torah will extinguish the fire of evil and we will all become winged immaterial souls in a renewed repaired world.
May it be soon and in our days, Amen!