The Torah depicts two brothers who go their separate ways. Eisav was the quintessential hunter, blood thirsty, shrewd and cunning. With his eloquent pious fraud, he was able to cultivate the love of his father. Yaakov, on the other hand, was the son who inherited his fathers characteristics. He was the simple student, the home loving son who served his parents obediently and piously.
Moreshes Moshe points out that these two sons grew up with divergent lifestyles. Yaakov requested that Eisav transfer the spiritual birthright to him because it had no meaning to Eisav. Eisav readily agreed to the arrangement, since he had no interest in preserving the spiritual heritage. Yitzchak, unaware of this eternal transaction, was deceived by Eisav’s smooth speech and pretense. Thus, Yitzchak called Eisav to his bedside for the final blessing. A son like Eisav cannot be entrusted with such a noble spiritual heritage, with the Jewish values that will one day transmitted to the world. Therefore, Rivkah advised Yaakov to conceal the truth from his father and ensure the blessings which he had fairly acquired. The rest is history. Eisav entered, only to find out that “his” blessings had been taken by his younger brother. He cried out bitterly with animosity towards Yaakov.
From that day onward, we, the sole inheritors of this heritage have been scorned by the sons of Eisav. Critics from numerous sources have heaped a mountain of hatred upon Yaakov, who stole the blessings, and, in turn, upon his physical and spiritual descendants. Perhaps the statement in the Zohar that Moshiach will not arrive “til Eisav’s tears will dry up” alludes to this. To continue to pay the penalty for those tears that Eisav shed is an awful retribution. What is the meaning of the Zohar? Have not our people shed enough tears at the hand of Eisav’s descendants that they long ago should have overwhelmed the tears of Eisav?
Nonetheless, the birthright has been a major source of contention, the pivotal source of anti-semitism which has emanated from Eisav’s descendants throughout the years. The description of the Jews as “the chosen people” has spurred the greatest conflict in every era. How can we dry Eisav’s tears so that we will exist in tranquility in order to serve the Almighty in serenity? Eisav’s tears will cease when the nations of the world reconcile themselves with the “lie”of Yaakov’s “stealing” the birthright. This can occur only when the Jew justifies his spiritual superiority by his mode of lifestyle. He can thereby claim the right of possession to Eisav’s birthright and consequently, Yitzchak’s blessing. Too often the apparent distinction between Jew and non-Jew is so slight that an objective observer could hardly notice any variance. Was it truly necessary for Yaakov to deceive his father and cause Eisav’s tears, so that Eisav’s descendants would continue to abuse the heirs of this hard won birthright? Undoubtedly, this question is at the heart of the Zohar’s statement. As long as Eisav’s tears have not dried, as long as we have not justified our spiritual ascendency and moral dominance, we will continue to be in exile.
The Jew has a difficult goal and awesome responsibility to fulfill. By asserting his spiritual superiority and his uniquely Jewish lifestyle, the Jew must mitigate an action which Yaakov performed for his sake many years ago. When the whole world sees that ” ‘s oa hf lhkg trebw” the Name of Hashem is written all over the Jew in all of his endeavors, mankind will be reconciled with the historic fact that the blessing was conferred upon us. It will necessarily be fulfilled through our children.