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“And he (Eisav) let out a most loud and bitter cry, ‘Bless me too, Father,’ he pleaded.” (27:34)

In the Midrash, Chazal teach us that the bitter tears which Eisav shed merited him the blessings for which he yearned. Horav Shmelke M’Nikolsburg, z.l., made an interesting observation based upon this Midrash. It is a wonder that the few tears shed by Eisav serve as his source for blessing.  We have a halachic rule that if an impermissible food falls into a permissible food, the resultant mixture does not become forbidden if there is sixty times as much permitted food as forbidden food. This is referred to as the rule of “batel b’shishim.” Now, Bnei Yisrael have cried oceans…

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“And Yitzchak trembled a very great trembling.” (27:33)

That Yitzchak “trembled a very great trembling” is a powerful statement. The phrase implies an exceptional incident taking place which serves as a foreshadowing of the future. Pesikta D’Rav Kahana states that Yitzchak suddenly became aware of Eisav’s deception. The presence of Gehinnom — which Yitzchak felt when Eisav entered the room — caused Yitzchak to realize that he had erred terribly all these years.  Had Rivkah not manipulated the course of events, maneuvering Yaakov to enter before Eisav, who knows what the disastrous outcome might have been? Indeed, the entire history of Klal Yisrael would have been severely altered….

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“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Eisav.” (27:22)

Chazal imply that when the voice of Yaakov, the sound of Torah and tefillah, is strong and dominant the evil “hands” of Eisav are rendered powerless. Eisav’s strength is reinforced when we are weak in our commitment to Torah. This interpretation does not seem consistent with the text of the pasuk. The pasuk seems to suggest that it is possible for both the “voice of Yaakov” and the “hands of Eisav” to reign simultaneously. How are we to reconcile this apparent inconsistency? Horav E.M. Shach, Shlita, offers a novel interpretation. Hashem has established individual “borders” for Yaakov and Eisav. Yaakov’s…

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“The children agitated within her.” (25:22)

Rashi cites Chazal, who explain that the word ummr,hu is derived from the root .r, which means, “to run.” Hence, Rashi interprets the pasuk to suggest that when Rivkah walked by the yeshivah of Shem and Ever, Yaakov would “run” in an attempt to come forth. In a similar manner, when she walked by a temple of idol worship, Eisav would “run” and struggle to escape. Horav Yerucham Levovitz, z.l., questions Yaakov’s “ability” to perceive the presence of the Bais Ha’Midrash and Eisav’s tendency to sense the tumah, impurity, of the temple of idol worship. He explains that we, regrettably,…

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“These are the generations of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham, Avraham begat Yitzchak.” (25:19)

The commentators address the apparent redundancy of the pasuk. Obviously, if Yitzchak was the son of Avraham, then Avraham begat Yitzchak. In his commentary on Chumash, the Tzemach Tzedek offers an explanation rooted in Chasidus. Avraham Avinu is a figure who serves as a paradigm for avodas Hashem, service of Hashem, through love and chesed. In contrast, Yitzchak is the model of fear and stringency. These two divergent approaches to serving the Divine have two levels.  The lower level of fear is represented by yiraas ha’onesh, fear of punishment. The higher, more sublime sense of fear, yiraas ha’rommemus, is described…

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