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“And he (Eisav) sold his birthright to Yaakov.” (25:33)

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One may wonder how Yaakov convinced Eisav to sell his birthright for a bowl of red lentils. Why would this not be considered a “mekach ta’us, erroneous sale?” Certainly, the birthright is worth much more than a bowl of lentils. Horav  Chaim Shmuelevitz, z.l., sums it up very simply. Eisav did not value the spiritual significance of the birthright. It meant nothing to him. Accordingly, Hashem ascribed the same value to the bechorah, birthright, as did Eisav. Thus, the sale was valid, because in Eisav’s mind there was no distinction between the birthright and the lentils.

Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, feels that the same idea applies to each one of us. For example, consider an individual who is sitting in the bais ha’medrash studying Torah and takes a break during his study period to go to the bank to take care of a returned check. The loss that he would incur had he not gone now is about ten dollars. He has just indicated that his Torah study is not worth more than ten-dollars, because he is willing to leave in the middle of learning to address a ten- dollar problem. On the other hand, one who overcomes various obstacles and challenges to study Torah will be rewarded by Hashem in kind.

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