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“And he said (Yitzchak), ‘Your brother came with cleverness and took your blessing.'” (27:35)

Probably one of the most difficult narratives in the Torah to understand, is the one which depicts Yaakov as “taking” the blessings from Yitzchak, through a manner uncharacteristic of someone who is considered to be the epitome of veracity. We do not understand the ways of Hashem. Why did He choose that Yitzchak be unaware that he was actually blessing Yaakov — and that Eisav was actually not fit for blessing altogether. The Zohar Ha’Kadosh comments that this scenario was essential so that the blessing would come directly from Hashem to Yaakov via the medium of the unsuspecting Yitzchak. The…

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“And Eisav was a man who knew hunting, a man of the field, and Yaakov was a wholesome man dwelling in tents.” (25:27)

Eisav is not depicted as a hunter, but as a man who “knew” hunting, a professional hunter who is an expert at his chosen vocation. Eisav is the consummate hunter, the one who sets the standard for excellence in the field of hunting, the one to whom everybody looks up. Eisav is a “doer;” his entire essence bespeaks accomplishment and success. Yaakov, on the other hand, is portrayed as a man who dwells in tents, the quiescent scholar who remains cloistered from society, his mind buried in his books. Undoubtedly he is successful at what he is doing. In the…

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“And the boys grew up and Eisav was a man who knew hunting, a man of the field; Yaakov was a wholesome man dwelling in tents. ” (25:27)

With these few words, the Torah characterizes the essence of Yaakov and the essence of Eisav. Indeed, it seems that the text pinpoints the predominant difference between the two brothers. One question is readily apparent. Eisav was a rasha m’rusha, evil incarnate. Even before his birth, in his mother’s womb, his wicked tendencies were already manifest. Chazal teach us that when Rivkah passed by a house of idolatry, Eisav gravitated towards it. All this while he was still in the womb! On the day that he sold his birthright, he committed five cardinal sins. Is this a man who should…

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

Chazal teach us that even prior to their birth, Yaakov and Eisav clearly exhibited their innate tendencies. They explain that the word, “ummur,hu,” is derived from the word, .r, which means “to run.” When Rivkah passed the Bais Ha’Midrash of Shem and Ever, Yaakov “ran,” struggling to come forth to study Torah. In contrast, when she passed a house of idol-worship, Eisav “ran,” trying to emerge. This Midrash has long been a source of discussion regarding the relative quality of Torah study, given the nature of the spiritual environment. This is inferred from the fact that Yaakov desired to “escape”…

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