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Thought for the Day: Fighting for K'dusha

Rivka Imeina was in such distress during her pregnancy that she even asked, "im kein, lama zeh anochi?" -- why is this happening to me?  Obviously there was something about the pregnancy that was causing her terrible distress, but what?  We must remember that this is the woman who chosen for Yitzchak because of her extraordinary devotion to chesed and avodas HaShem.  Rivka surely understood the importance of this pregnancy and was dedicated to accepting whatever was required to build klal Yisrael.  Then we have the response that addressed her concerns: "There are two nations in your womb", which Chazal tells means, "There are two great men -- Rebbi and Antoninus -- who will be descended from you."

Obviously, then, Rivka Imeinu was distressed about the fate of her descendents.  Whenever she would walk by a beis avoda zara, she would feel one of her progeny fighting to get out.  The Shallal Tov brings from a R' Kotziner that she wondered why she was carrying a child like that.  Avraham Avinu had had Yishmael, but via a piligesh.  Rivka was distraught that she was not living up to here potential to be a full partner in building Klal Yisrael.  On that she was told not to worry, there was k'dusha even in Eisav that would come out as Antoninus.

Being the great^n grandmother of Rebbi, Rabeinu haKodesh, R' Yehuda haNasi is certainly a point of pride and a reason to feel all the suffering is worth it.  But Antoninus?  A goy?  How does that help?

The first time I was introduced to R' Dovid Siegel, shlita, I asked him about Eisav.  "What happened to all that love that Yitzchak showered on Eisav?", I asked.  R' Siegel pondered my questions for just a few moments, then replied, "It became the torah sh'b'al peh."  I asked for further clarification, and he said that Antoninus, who came from Eisav, was the one who protected and supported Rebbi while he formulated the Mishnayos -- the basis and structure of all subsequent elucidations of the torah sh'b'al peh.

That means that Rivka Imeinu was willing to endure bearing and rearing an Eisav, from whom would descend Haman and Hitler, because he would also produce an Antoninus.  She showered love on someone who would cause so much suffering to klal yisrael, in order to produce one goy who would protect our most precious asset.


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