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הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו

The voice is Yaakov’s voice, but the hands are Eisav’s hands. (27:22)

Yitzchak Avinu sensed a contradiction. The manner in which the “son” who stood before him spoke was gentle, pleasant and respectful. Hence, he assumed that it was Yaakov who stood before him. On the other hand, once he felt his hairy arms, he thought it was Eisav. Alternatively, the power of Yaakov’s voice was in his ability to plead with Hashem through the medium of prayer. Eisav was a “hands on” man; he lived with his hands – plundering and murdering. Nothing stood in the way of his hands. One question that weighs heavily on the reader: If Yitzchak questioned…

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הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו

The voice is Yaakov’s voice, but the hands are Eisav’s hands. (27:22)

Chazal derive from the above pasuk that when the voice of Yaakov Avinu prevails – when Torah is studied and his descendants are engaged in prayer – the murderous hands of Eisav have no power against us. When we slack off and weaken our vocal power, Eisav and his minions are strengthened.  When we read the pasuk, however, the implication is different. It almost appears as if Yaakov lives by his voice and Eisav by his hands – and there is no counterbalance, such that one rises and the other falls. Furthermore, the word kol (ha’kol) the voice, is written…

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עקב אשר שמע אברהם בקלי וישמר משמרתי מצותי חקתי ותורתי

Because Avraham hearkened My voice and safeguarded My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws. (26:5)

In his commentary to the above pasuk, Sforno makes an important point. He notes that Hashem promised Yitzchak Avinu to multiply his offspring, grant his descendants the Land and bless them – all because of His oath to Avraham Avinu. We see here (explains Sforno) that z’chus Avos, merit of others (his father, Avraham Avinu) is invoked when Hashem speaks to Yitzchak. Not so with Avraham (who did not have z’chus Avos) or Yaakov. This is because, before Yitzchak was inspired to call upon the Name of Hashem (after Gerar), when Avimelech came to him and said, “We saw that…

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ויאהב יצחק את עשו כי ציד בפיו

Yitzchak loved Eisav, for game was in his mouth. (25:27)

Yitzchak Avinu’s love for Eisav has been the topic of many a commentator’s pen. The Patriarch achieved an extraordinary level of spirituality. He was a Navi, Prophet, having reached a level of yiraah, awe of Hashem, that was unparalleled. As the Olah Temimah, perfect sacrifice, his devotion to the Almighty was without peer. He was the Amud ha’Gevurah, Pillar of spiritual strength. Taking all of this into consideration, we wonder how such a holy, perceptive tzaddik could possibly have been blind to Eisav’s corruption. Moshe Rabbeinu did not kill the Egyptian until he saw that no righteous person would ever…

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ויעקב איש תם יושב אהלים

Yaakov was a wholesome man, abiding in tents. (25:27)

Onkeles interprets ish tam as g’var shlim, perfect/whole man; and yosheiv ohalim as meshamesh bais ulfana, served/studied in the house of Torah study. Yaakov Avinu achieved perfection in that his neshamah, soul, filled his entire body; he essentially became a totally spiritual (spiritually-oriented) person. Yaakov expunged whatever negative spiritual forces that might have existed within him, to the point that his pure soul was in complete control of his being. Chazal teach (Bava Basra 16a) that Eisav kofar b’Ikar, denied the Ikar, Hashem; he was a heretic who had no regard for anything spiritual. He believed in nothing. He demonstrated…

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והיה כאשר תריד ופרקת עולו מעל צוארך

Yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from your neck. (27:40)

The Chozeh, zl, m’Lublin observes (in a homiletic interpretation of this pasuk) that in some instances, one must close his Gemorah and engage in commerce or whatever endeavor is necessary in order for him to earn a livelihood. No one said it was going to be easy, but he should not be happy that he must do this. He would much rather continue learning, but he has to put bread on the table. If, however, his attitude is one of, “Great! I got out of learning. I can finally leave the bais hamedrash,” if it is one of v’hayah (the…

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וישא עשו קולו ויבך

And Eisav lifted up his voice and wept. (27:38)

The Sefarim HaKedoshim teach that the few drops of tears which Eisav emitted have been the source of much trouble for our people throughout the millennia. In Eisav’s mind, Yaakov Avinu was the villain who stole his rightful blessings. He was so overwrought with pain at this perceived loss that he expressed emotion. Eisav was not an emotional person. He was a hardened criminal, but even criminals have feelings. These tears have stood against us as a prosecuting agent, condemning us and seeking reparation. While no one questions the veracity of the above statement, it still begs elucidation. We have…

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ויחרד יצחק חרדה גדולה עד מאד

Then Yitzchak trembled in very great perplexity. (27:33)

Yitzchak Avinu possessed the middah, attribute, of gevurah, strength. He feared nothing, because his belief in Hashem was so resolute that he understood that one has nothing to fear if he is with Hashem. The Almighty either protects the individual or He does not; if He does not protect him, fear is futile. Yitzchak had extraordinary control of his emotions. This was evident throughout the Akeidah, Binding (of Yitzchak), when he prepared to become an olah, sacrifice, for Hashem. He never questioned his father, Avraham Avinu, not even when he looked up at him and saw him poised with the…

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ויאמר לאביו יקם אבי ויאכל מציד בנו בעבר תברכני נפשך

He said to his father, “Let my father rise and eat of his son’s game, so that your soul will bless me. (27:31)

The commentators (Midrash Tanchuma) note the stark disparity between the manner in which Yaakov Avinu addressed his father and the way that Eisav spoke to him. Yaakov spoke to his father with the words, Kum na shvah v’achlah mitzeidi; “Rise up, please, sit and eat of my game” (Bereishis 27:18). Eisav ha’rasha said, Yakum avi v’yochal mitzeid bno; “Let my father rise and eat of his son’s game” (ibid. 27:31). Yaakov said, “Please;” Eisav demanded, “Get up.” Yaakov spoke with humility. Eisav arrogantly commanded, insisting that his father eat. We are well aware that the mitzvah of Kibud av, honoring…

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על כן קרא שמו אדם

He, therefore, called his name Edom. (25:30)

Certainly the name Edom/Eisav evokes question. Referring to a bowl of red bean soup as “red” is not cause for one to be named “Red,” unless this reference to red soup defines the person. Rashbam says that Eisav had a ruddy complexion, and he sold his birthright for a bowl of red soup. That is a pretty contemptuous act. Hence, Edom/Red is a reference, not so much to color, but to contempt, which describes Eisav quite well. Sforno views the red color of the soup as a description of Eisav’s values and outlook on life. He was so consumed with…

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