VOLUME 108 NUMBER 5
Kislev 4, 5784
November 17, 2023
Candlelighting Time 4:24 PM
Yitzchok was aging and realized that it was time to convey his blessings. Although he wanted Eisav to receive them, however, Rivka dissented and wanted Yaakov to be the beneficiary. Perhaps the question that needs to be asked is why she was so concerned about Yaakov’s blessings? Hashem, the source of our welfare, can orchestrate that blessings can be transmitted without our assistance in arranging for that occurrence. Can we really assume that if Rivka had not intervened then Yaakov would not have secured the blessings that he needed? That notion contravenes our belief that Hashem can provide our needs under any circumstances.
Chasam Sofer presents a fascinating understanding of these events. Even though Eisav was not exemplary in serving Hashem per se, he was still outstanding in honoring his parents. He was seriously concerned for their comfort and security. The Talmud states that when we accept charity from our non-Jewish friends, their merits increase and this prolongs the exile thereby delaying our salvation and eventual coming of the Moshiach. In a similar sense, Rivka was worried that if Eisav brings Yitzchok the meal that he is awaiting, this will be an added mitzvah of honoring his father and that will buoy him extending his superior position and delaying Yaakov’s reception of the blessings from Yitzchok. Therefore, Rivka wanted to circumvent Eisav and sent Yaakov to deliver Yitzchok’s meal. Although Yaakov was afraid that Yitzchok might curse him for his deception, feigning that he is Eisav, Rivka was not alarmed. She realized since Yaakov was the true heir of Yitzchok therefore nothing detrimental would occur. However, her main worry was allayed by preventing Eisav from presenting his father with a meal. Certainly, this approach offers us an eye-opening appreciation of the power of a mitzvah. Even Eisav, an evil and conniving individual would benefit from performance of a mitzvah. How much more so would someone of more prominence and distinction stand to gain when he would abide by Torah principles and serve Hashem respectfully.
Malbim, however, paints a different picture of this episode. He explains that Rivka’s concern was that conveying the blessings to Eisav thereby creating an alliance between Yaakov and Eisav whereby Eisav would supply Yaakov with his worldly needs would be disastrous. The effect of Eisav’s rapport and bond with Yaakov would actually ruin Yaakov’s status. The gain of creating an affiliation between the two of them would be an impossibility. Seemingly our association with the secular world is vital, however we must always exercise caution because that connection can be destructive.
Rav Shlomo Kluger cites the Midrash that when Rivka instructed Yaakov to bring from her sheep Yitzchok’s’ meal, it was actually an allusion to our nation. As tender sheep, Hashem forgoes our deficiencies and therefore forgives us for our iniquities. Rivka envisioned that Yaakov’s attachment to the physical and corporal world would be a detriment. Attraction to worldly temptations would possibly spur Yaakov to sin, abrogating his fierce desire to purely serve Hashem. Therefore, Rivka alluded to Yaakov that we are compared to sheep, our position with Hashem is one of positivity not of censure and discontent.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Even before they were born, Yaakov and Eisav were embattled. When they did appear, Yaakov was grasping the heel of Eisav. We must realize Eisav’s intent to mislead us, therefore we must ‘grab’ him, guard ourselves against his threat.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE WAR CONTINUES AND OUR PEOPLE ARE UNDER SIEGE FROM WITHIN AND FROM WITHOUT. THE VOICES OF ANTI-SEMITISM ARE RAISING THEIR UGLY HEADS AND BECOMING VOCIFEROUS IN THEIR CONDEMNATION OF OUR PEOPLE. IT IS VITAL FOR US TO REALIZE THAT WE CAN ONLY DEPEND ON OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN TO SAVE US FROM THE FIENDS THAT ARE ATTACKING US EVERYWHERE, EVEN AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF OUR COUNTRY. WE MUST CONTINUE TO DAVEN TO HASHEM WITH TREMENDOUS FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION AND INCREASE OUR PERFORMANCE OF MITZVOS IN ORDER TO AUGMENT OUR MERITS IN HEAVEN.