Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Sticking Up For Mom

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And his mother [Rivka] said to him [Yaakov], “Your curse will be on me. Just listen to what I said and go and take [the goats] for me.” (Bereshith 27:13)

Rivka’s reply to Yaakov is somewhat difficult to understand. Surely in order to convince Yaakov to listen to her, she had to take full responsibility for Yitzchak’s reaction. Therefore, if she meant to accept all the liability upon herself, she should have said, “The curse will be upon me,” without attributing the curse to Yaakov at all.

From Rivka’s wording, “Your curse will be upon me,” it would appear that she meant to say that although Yaakov would be fully responsible for the curse, she was willing to accept the full consequences upon herself. Since Rivka had designed the whole scheme to take the blessings (as a result of prophetic inspiration), how could she justify shifting the blame onto Yaakov? Yaakov was just filling the role that his mother asked him to play. Why should he be accountable for Yitzchak’s reaction?

A child is obligated to honor his mother just as much as his father 1, so much so that if a child’s mother tells him to do something that subsequently upsets his father, the child is forbidden to reveal that it was the mother who told him to do it. The correct response in such a situation is for the child to accept the blame upon himself, in order to spare his mother from embarrassment 2.

Under normal circumstances, had Yitzchak become upset as a result of Rivka’s instructions to her son, Yaakov would have had to take full responsibility for what had happened. However, Rivka understood that the entire future of the Jewish people depended on convincing Yaakov to pretend to be Esav in order to gain Yitzchak’s blessings. Therefore, in order to persuade her son to listen to her, she accepted all the consequences of the curse upon herself.

Footnotes:

1 However if the father and mother ask for something simultaneously, the halachah requires one to fulfill the father’s request before that of the mother, (unless they are divorced, in which case there is no order of preference).
2 See also the article entitled “Guilty Parties,” (page 202) on Bereshith 30:23 for further discussion on this topic.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Lessons from a Farewell Speech
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Repentance and Changing History
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Don't Take Advantage of People's Compassion
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

ArtScroll

A Time of Introspection
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

WARning
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Two People, One Soul
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Practice Makes Perfect
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Trust and Position
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

The Beautiful Accompaniment
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Leave it Up to the King
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

A Time for Fear, A Time for Joy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

To Be Respected
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

> The Distance
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

More and More Ourselves
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Armed With Torah
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Shlomo Katz - 5769



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