Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Toldos

Death Wish

Esav. He represents so much evil. We know him as the hunter, the ruthless marauder, murderer of Nimrod and stalker of Yaakov. Yet, believe it or not, he had some saving grace. He is even considered a paradigm of virtuous character at least in one aspect of his life honoring parents. The Torah tells us that Yitzchak loved Esav. And Esav loved him back. He respected his father and served him faithfully. In fact, the Medrash and Zohar talk favorably about the power of Esav's kibud av, honor of his father. They even deem it greater than that of his brother Yaakov's. And so Yitzchak requested Esav to "go out to the field and hunt game for me, then make me delicacies such as I love, and I will eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die" (Genesis 27:3-4). Yitzchak wanted to confer the blessings to him. Esav won his fatherís regard. And even when Esav found out that his brother, Yaakov beat him to the blessings, he did not yell at his father, in the method of modern filial impugnation, "How did you let him do that?!" All he did was "cry out an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me too, Father!" (ibid v.34). Yitzchak finds some remaining blessing to bestow upon his older son, but the grudge does not evaporate. What troubles me is not the anger of defeat or the desire for revenge, rather the way Esav expressed it. "Now Esau harbored hatred toward Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau thought, "May the days of mourning for my father draw near, then I will kill my brother Jacob."

"May the days of mourning for my father draw near" Think about it. How did the love for a father turn into the eager anticipation of his death? The seventh grade class of the posh Harrington Boy's School, nestled in the luxurious rolling hills of suburbia, was teeming with excitement. The winter had begun, and they were rapidly approaching the beginning of the holiday season. The children had been talking about their wishes and expectations for holiday presents and were telling the class what they were going to get.

Johnny had been promised that if he finished his piano lessons, he'd get a new 800-megahertz computer. Arthur had asked for a real drum set and was promised it on the condition he gets grades of 100 on two consecutive math tests.

Billy had not been so lucky. He had begged his dad for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, to which his father replied, "Over my dead body!" He settled. If he would write a weekly letter to his uncle in Wichita, he would get a motorized scooter.

The day came and all the kids had the chance to share their expectations with their peers.

"When I get two hundreds in a row, I'm getting a real drum set!" shouted Arthur.

"When I finish piano lessons, I'm getting the latest computer!" exclaimed Johnny. And so it went. Each child announced his goal and the prize that awaited him upon accomplishment.

Finally Billy swaggered up to the front of the class. "If I write my uncle I'm gonna get a scooter." He quickly continued, "but that's nothing! 'Cause when my daddy dies, I'm getting a Harley-Davidson motorcycle!"

Passions overrule sanity. They even overtake years of love and commitment. When one is enraged, he can turn against his best friend, his closest ally, and even his own parents! Esav, who spent his first 63 years in undying adulation of his father, changed his focus in a burst of emotion. Now, instead of worrying about his father's fare, he awaited the day of his farewell. All in anticipation of the revenge he would take on Yaakov.

When passions perverse our priorities, and obsessions skew our vision, friends become foes and alliance becomes defiance. In the quest for paranoiac revenge, everyone is an enemy even your own parents. But mostly your own self.

Dedicated lezecher nishmat our zeida Avraham Yehoshua Heshel ben Yehuda Hacohen - 7 Kislev sponsored by Miriam, Josh, Tamar & Shlomo Hauser


Copyright © 2000 by Rabbi M. Kamenetzky and Project Genesis, Inc.

If you enjoy the weekly Drasha, now you can receive the best of Drasha in book form! Purchase Parsha Parables - from the Project Genesis bookstore - Genesis Judaica - at a very special price!

The author is the Associate Dean of the Yeshiva of South Shore.

Drasha is the e-mail edition of FaxHomily, a weekly torah facsimile on the weekly portion which is sponsored by The Henry and Myrtle Hirsch Foundation


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

A Lesson About Our Psyche
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Visionary Words
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Don't Flaunt It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Rebuilding the Temple with Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

ArtScroll

In Other Words
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Children are a Gift
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Personal Judge
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

To See or Not to See - That is the Question
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

Murphy's Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

> So Much to Say
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

From Rock Bottom to Bottoms Up
Jon Erlbaum - 0

No Child's Game
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information