Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Frustration Removes Our Mask

A few days back I wrote about a Beis HaLevi regarding Yitzchak Avinu mistakenly concluding that Eisav was standing before him and not Yaakov based on the evidence "the voice is the voice of Yaakov; the hands are the hands of Eisav".  The Beis HaLevi explains that Eisav had arranged to speak using Yaakov Avinu's speech patterns because he suspected that Yaakov Avinu would attempt to take the brachos by disguising his hands and voice to match Eisav.  See more details there.

I thought (and still think) that is a beautiful p'shat.  However, I was bothered by the 500 lb gorilla staring back at me: when Eisav actually did come in, he spoke in his normal (gruff, unrefined) manner.  And all that we before he discovered that Yaakov had, in fact, already received the brachos.  According to this Beis HaLevi, Eisav should have come in all smooth taking and stuff.  Since the Beis HaLevi had the same chumash I do, I felt it deserved further investigation.

First: how long do you think all this took?  Rivka had to talk Yaakov into the deal, then the sheep needed to be dressed and cooked, then sheared and Yaakov disguised, then Yaakov had a nice conversation with his father.  Probably a good few hours.  Where was Eisav all this time?  Especially given that Eisav was not know for his patience and had left ready to steal an animal if he couldn't find a hefker one right away.  Then he just happens to walk in at the very moment that Yaakov Avinu is walking out?  The Ohr Chaim haKodesh notes that the timing was arranged so that Yaakov would get the brachos (so Eisav couldn't get there a moment earlier) and so that Yitchak Avinu's declaration of "gam baruch yi'ye" would be toch k'dai dibur of the brachos.

I would like to propose that Eisav was feeling very frustrated by the time he returned.  In order to get him back at just the right second, animals must have presented themselves to him and then fled just at the last moment.  Chazal tell us (Eruvin 65b) that the real person is seen by his behavior when he is drunk, spending money, or angry.  Given that, all the plans Eisav made in the world wouldn't have helped.  He was angry and so he was Eisav; inside and out.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…