Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Sticking Up For Mom

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

And his mother [Rivka] said to him [Yaakov], “Your curse will be on me. Just listen to what I said and go and take [the goats] for me.” (Bereshith 27:13)

Rivka’s reply to Yaakov is somewhat difficult to understand. Surely in order to convince Yaakov to listen to her, she had to take full responsibility for Yitzchak’s reaction. Therefore, if she meant to accept all the liability upon herself, she should have said, “The curse will be upon me,” without attributing the curse to Yaakov at all.

From Rivka’s wording, “Your curse will be upon me,” it would appear that she meant to say that although Yaakov would be fully responsible for the curse, she was willing to accept the full consequences upon herself. Since Rivka had designed the whole scheme to take the blessings (as a result of prophetic inspiration), how could she justify shifting the blame onto Yaakov? Yaakov was just filling the role that his mother asked him to play. Why should he be accountable for Yitzchak’s reaction?

A child is obligated to honor his mother just as much as his father 1, so much so that if a child’s mother tells him to do something that subsequently upsets his father, the child is forbidden to reveal that it was the mother who told him to do it. The correct response in such a situation is for the child to accept the blame upon himself, in order to spare his mother from embarrassment 2.

Under normal circumstances, had Yitzchak become upset as a result of Rivka’s instructions to her son, Yaakov would have had to take full responsibility for what had happened. However, Rivka understood that the entire future of the Jewish people depended on convincing Yaakov to pretend to be Esav in order to gain Yitzchak’s blessings. Therefore, in order to persuade her son to listen to her, she accepted all the consequences of the curse upon herself.

Footnotes:

1 However if the father and mother ask for something simultaneously, the halachah requires one to fulfill the father’s request before that of the mother, (unless they are divorced, in which case there is no order of preference).
2 See also the article entitled “Guilty Parties,” (page 202) on Bereshith 30:23 for further discussion on this topic.


Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Passive Action
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Storehouse of the King
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Chanukah: Lights, Camera, Action!
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Mysterious Ending
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

"Your Servant, Our Father"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

A New Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5768

> Light Up Right
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Days of Eight
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

ArtScroll

Don't Be Jealous!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Unsolicited Advice
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Redeeming Factors
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Master Plan
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

To Fergin Or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

The Strong and the Weak
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information