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And Hashem said to her, “Two nations are in your womb.” (25:23)

The word “nations” is spelled in the Torah with two “yudin,” which means “proud ones.” It is read, however, with one “yud” to mean nations. Rashi explains that the “proud ones” is a reference to two great leaders, each hailing from different nations, who were close personal friends – Rabbi Yehudah Ha’nasi, the redactor of the Mishnah, maintained a healthy, personal relationship with Antoninus, the Roman leader. Hashem prevented Yitzchak from discerning the true nature and character of his son, Eisav. Hence, Yitzchak had no reason to harbor any ill will toward him. Indeed, the Torah says that Yitzchak loved…

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“Yitzchak entreated Hashem opposite his wife, because she was barren.” (25:21)

  Prayer has always been an important aspect of Klal Yisrael’s service to the Almighty. Moreover, as Chazal mention, the Matriarchs  were  initially  barren.  Hashem  granted  them offspring in response to their heartfelt prayers. Thus, the commentators observe that the emergence of Klal Yisrael is a miracle, for each new generation is in its own right a gift of G-d to a mother who could not have given birth under natural circumstances. Hashem “desires” the pure prayers of the righteous, accompanied by their self-improvement. This serves as a lesson for all of us, indicating the possible effect of a pure…

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“And he (Eisav) took Machlas the daughter of Yishmael…as a wife for himself.” (28:9)

  In the Midrash, Chazal infer from the word “machlas,” which is a derivative of the word “mochal,” to forgive, that when Eisav took a wife, Hashem forgave his prior sins. Furthermore, Chazal say that when one gets married, all of his sins are forgiven. We must endeavor to understand this. Why should Eisav’s sins be forgiven because he entered into matrimony? Is marriage some kind of magic moment, such that the instant one places a ring on his kallah’s finger, all of his prior transgressions are erased? For the sin of chillul Hashem, even teshuvah, repentance on Yom Kippur…

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She sent and summoned Yaakov, her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Eisav is consoling himself regarding you to kill you”… Rivkah said to Yitzchak, “I am disgusted with my life on account of the daughters of Cheis.” (27:42,46)

  Apparently, Rivkah was conveying two distinctly different messages. When she spoke to Yaakov, she instructed him to leave home, because Eisav was planning to kill him at the first opportune moment. However, she asserted to Yitzchak that Yaakov should leave, because the time had come for him to marry, and the daughters of Cheis were inappropriate, pagans of base character. Why did Rivkah not tell Yitzchak the truth, that Eisav was intent upon killing Yaakov? Given the situation, it would make sense for Yaakov to take an extended leave. Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, writes that he once heard an…

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He said (Yitzchak), “The voice is Yaakov’s voice, but the hands are Eisav’s hands.” (27:22)

One can only begin to imagine what must have gone through Yaakov’s mind as he approached his father to accept his blessing. Yaakov, the man noted for his integrity, was acting in a seemingly deceptive manner. His mother had instructed him to act this way as the last resort, the only way to obtain his rightful blessings. He had acquired the birthright “fair and square;” he was only collecting his due. Nonetheless, dressing up as Eisav, even if it was at the behest of his mother, was still not typical of Yaakov. Yaakov dressed up with “hairy” clothes to give…

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

  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,…

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