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Posted on November 17, 2023 (5784) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: | Level:

And he (Essav) said, “Is he not rightly called Yaakov? Since he has gone behind me these two times, he took my birthright and see now he took away my blessing…” (Breishis 27:36)

This is a lightning bolt from the deep past. Essav for the first time betrays his woefully mistaken impression of the sale of the birthright that had occurred fifty years earlier. Sure, Yaakov under executive orders from his mother had just usurped his blessing. Rivka had observed his lack of readiness for those blessings. Why had his character stagnated and even worsened over the next five decades? Who was to blame for that? Let us appreciate the relevance of that false accusation he launched at his brother in his hour of disappointment.

The verse openly testifies that after the sale of the birthright Yaakov had given him not only the beans, he so desperately requested but bread and apparently some drink too because it is written, “And he ate and he drank and he got up and he left and he despised the birthright!” (Breishis 25:34)

If it is true that Yaakov had taken advantage of him in a vulnerable state and not that he was tricked into forfeiting the birthright then he should have protested then and there when his stomach was full. Why should he leave the scene of the crime silently? That proved how little he valued the birthright. After fifty years Essav is telling himself the story that he was a victim of deception. For fifty years he tricked himself, playing the blame game.

Essav is caught here not just telling a lie but living a lie. He is couching himself as a victim of something he did and he openly agreed to. It would be enough if it lasted a year or even a lifetime but this anger towards Yaakov has lasted thousands of years. Essav thinks Yaakov is the cause of his problems. He refuses to face the reality that he is the author and sole owner of his problems. His hatred is based on faulty thinking. Eliminating Yaakov won’t make him happier or more worthy of blessing.

The 2nd Chapter of Tehillim, our sages tell us, is a foretelling of the times when Moshiach’s arrival is imminent. It certainly feels like that now. The verse states, “Why are the nations in commotion, and why do the peoples speculate in vain. Kings of the earth rise up and rulers together have set themselves principles against HASHEM and His anointed (His Moshiach) We wish to tear their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us. He Who sits in Heaven laughs; My master mocks them.”

Rav Hirsch writes poetically and almost prophetically: “They all, consciously or unconsciously, have one common goal; namely to emancipate themselves from the sovereignty of the one supreme principle, that of dutiful obedience to the moral Law of G-d, which came to their awareness through the historical fact of the existence of His people and of His anointed. Only to His law did G-d promise His aid and furtherance. Upon this law did G-d build His world order and only through the observance of this law can nations attain enduring peace in their domestic and foreign relationships.

The refusal to swear allegiance to this moral law because of considerations of personal interest, power, fame, and wealth is the reason for the unhealthy internal and external relationships in the lives of the nations. Instead of seeking a cure for this state of affairs upon the only path that leads to the true goal, all the leaders of the lives and the activities of the nations are perversely engaged in a fight against the sole principle of salvation. The cure actually lies precisely there where they think that they can find the cause for their troubles, while they seek a cure in that which only aggravates the lingering evil.”

This gigantic struggle persists until this very day. Our best consolation is the Talmudic statement, “Truth endures and falsehood is ultimately unsustainable.” Time will tell, and hopefully we shall see who has the last laugh of history.