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Thought for the Day: Chosen From Among the Nations, Because We Live Among the Nations -- Part II

As you recall from last time, we have a lot of questions about the whole incident with Yitzchak, Yaakov, and Eisav regarding the brachos.  Instead of asking more questions, let's take a look at the facts of the case.
  1. Eisav really wants his father's bracha.  We, having the advantage of the Author giving us the back story, know that Eisav is not exactly what you'd call religious.  Yet he really, really wants his father's blessing.
  2. Yaakov really doesn't want that bracha.  However, when he is leaving to find his soul mate (which actually turns out to four soul mates), he very much wants his father's bracha.
  3. Yitzchak really wants to give this particular bracha to Eisav.  Yet, as soon as the subterfuge is revealed, Yitzchak declares that the bracha stands.  More than that, he keeps putting Eisav off when he asks for some kind of bracha.  Eisav has to ask three times and then actually start crying (really tears, mind you; there is nothing fake at this point) before Yitzchak relents and gives Eisav a blessing.
  4. Yitzchak's blessing to Yaakov is to have success only when he is living as a tzadik.  If Yaakov goes off the derech, the blessings evaporate.
  5. Yitzchak's blessing to Eisav is unconditional; the blessings come regardless of Eisav's behaviour.
  6. Yitzchak makes Eisav subservient to Yaakov when Yaakov is "on the derech", but lets him throw off that yoke if Yaakov strays.
Ok... now to answer everything.  The Zohar HaKodesh says that both the Torah and the bri'ah (creation) are entirely names of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.  What is a name?  A name in lashon ha'kodesh expresses a dimension what is being named.  When you have a name, you can use that name to build a relationship with the one to whom the name applies along the dimension that is being revealed.  The Zohar HaKodesh is therefore saying that HaShem (or, more precisely the "ein sof"/ the Unbounded One who cannot truly be named) gave us the Torah and this world as channels with which we can connect with Him and build a relationship with Him.  There are distinct modes of building the relationship: learning Torah and doing the mitzvos.  The two modes complement and complete each other.  That was Yitzchak's plan.  Yaakov was Torah and Eisav was mitzvos.

To perform the mitzvos, one needs material wealth.  You need a house to put up mezusahs, clothing to which to attach tzitzis, food to make kosher, and so forth.  Therefore, the bracha for Eisav was that he should have the wherewithal to perform mitzvos.  Obviously, that money should only be available when the bracha-ee is using the funds to perform mitzvos; hence the condition.  Moreover, a tzadik will attribute lack of success to his own deficiencies -- not, chas v'chalila to HaShem mistreating him -- so the very loss of the success will be the motivator to improve.  That is why Yitzchak blessed Yaakov at the end of the parsha with the blessings of Avraham Avinu and gave him Eretz Yisrael -- the place for a rarefied spiritual existence.  The material blessings intended for Eisav would be nothing but a distraction to Yaakov.

That's why Yitzchak Avinu was ready to continue when he realized that "ha'kol kol yaakov, v'ha'yadayim y'dei eisav" -- he'd been waiting 60 years for Eisav to reach into that well of spirituality and channel his considerable talents into serving HaShem!  Yitzchak knew that Eisav had that in him because, after all, Eisav had the b'chora; that is, it was Eisav who would be the spiritual leader of the family.  The one, in fact, who would bring the family offerings; a very spiritual job, indeed!

Then Eisav admitted to his father that he had sold away his b'chora; he had completely divorced himself from spirituality.  Yitzchak immediately saw the Divine Hand in guiding him to abandon the plan of the twins working together.  It was now up to Yaakov, "gam baruch y'h'yeh!"/Also this bracha belongs to him!  When Eisav finally comes to real tears, his father chooses that moment when Eisav's wall of arrogance was breached to send in a bracha.

What happened to that bracha?  That bracha became the preservation of the Oral Law into the Mishna.  As Rashi explains at the beginning of the parsha: The prophecy to Rivka that two nations were in her womb was to be understood as two great men are going to issue forth -- Rebbie and Antoninus.  The descendant of Yaakov who would codify the Mishna and the descendant of Eisav who would protect him and provide him with bountiful livelihood so he would not be distracted.

In other words, the plan that Yitzchak had all along.


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