Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Toldos

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"And he ate, and he drank, and he arose and he left; and Esav denigrated the right of the first-born." [25:34]

According to the Medrash, the right of the first-born meant the ability to lead in the service of G-d. Before the children of Aaron and the entire tribe of Levi were designated, the service was led by the first-born. This is what Esav sold away.

The Sefer [book] Sha'ar Bas Rabim analyzes what transpired. At the beginning of this process, by which Esav sold his right of the first-born, there was a clear opportunity to look at him in a favorable light. We could say that he was extremely tired and hungry, and feared that he was near death - and therefore he decided to agree to the deal which Yaakov was offering. This interpretation would not lead us to believe that Esav intended to denigrate the right of the first-born, or underestimate it's value.

But after eating and drinking, what should we have expected? Why, that Esav would feel intense pain! That he would cry out, "I was forced to do it! And I regret what I did! I regret the entire sale!"

What actually happened? "And he ate, and he drank, and he arose and he left..." - he got up and left quietly, satisfied, as if nothing had happened. Even more, it became clear that "Esav denigrated the right of the first-born" - for the entire sale had not taken place because he was hungry, but because he really didn't care. He thought the right of the first-born had no value. He didn't care about proper service of G-d.

How do we rate, if we evaluate ourselves in this light? When we fail to do the service of G-d, when we pass up a Mitzvah, how much do we regret it later?

I recall a classmate in college, basically a religious guy - but let's just say that the laws of Loshon Hora, prohibited speech, weren't his particular area of excellence. By his own admission, he was a terrible gossip - and he would say in a joking voice, "I'm going to be punished for this."

There are two ways of looking at his situation. Looking at him, we should say, "at least he felt some twinge of regret. Think of all the people who fill their days with gossip, feeling they are doing nothing wrong!" He has the soul of Yaakov, not Esav - at least he cares!

But to whatever extent we find this same trait within ourselves, our reaction must be just the opposite. "If I really cared, I wouldn't joke about it - I would stop!" At the very least, we must try to improve ourselves, if we are serious about bringing ethics and holiness into our lives.


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 


ARTICLES ON VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

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

Many Routes, One Destination
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Parents Love Children More Than Children Love Parents
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

ArtScroll

The Real Story
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Behind the Gray Blur
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

> Build with Your Dreams
Shlomo Katz - 5772

A Gallery of Heroes
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Age Old Questions
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

To Love Me is to Hate Me
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Potentially
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Feel My Pain
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

How Extrordinary The Result
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

A Spiritual Holiday
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Horns and Hedonism
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Jewish Identity Through Jewish Education
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757



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