Sunday, November 14, 2004

Father, please?

Esav usually gets credit for high degrees of kibud av(honoring his father). However, when you compare how he and Yaakov address Yitzchak, it appears that Ya'akov uses more respect in his language than Esav. Yaakov uses the word na, please, where as Esav comes right out and says " get up dad and eat." In fact, Yitzchak notes the difference in language, when he says " the voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands belong to Eisav." How is this then, a greater degree of honoring one's parent?

MVLW(my very learned wife) holds that Ya'akov addresses his father kind of as a stranger, in formal language, thereby neccesitating the use of na, please. Whereas Esav is on easy informal terms with his father, is much closer, and his language reflects that closeness. In this construct, the use of please is not only not neccessary, but indicates a distance between the two. It seems to me to be a plausible explaination, I would be happy to hear others. If one looks at the use of the word 'na' in other circumstances, I am not sure if the applications are similar. Examples: Esav to Yaakov- give me some of the porridge (ha'aliteini na)
God to Avraham- take your son to be sacrificed (kach na et bincha).

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