Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ya'akov and Esav redux

The story of Yitzchak and why he prefered Eisav over Ya'akov has been bothering me. The best explaination that I have found is by, who else, but R. Henkin(every year I try to go through a perush or two, and his is one that I am trying to read cover to cover.) THe crux of the matter is the description of the two sons, Eisav is "ish sadeh"(man of the field) and Ya'akov is "yoshev ohalim"(sitter in tents). The use of the term ish in Eisav's case is key, in that the fields define his existance. He can do nothing else. Yitchak wanted his heir to be a combination of sadeh and ohel(physical and spiritual, strength and learning). Eisav could only be one, the physical. The description of Ya'akov says only that he sat in the tent. He concentrated on the spiritual and learning side. The fact that the word Ish is not used, implies that he was not limited to the tents, only that he chose to be there, but under other circumstances he could be a physical or field person as well. That is why Yitchak says "hakol kol Yaakov v'hayadayim yedai Eisav", he wants his heir to have the combination, to be able to persevere both physically and spiritually. He confirms this in his bracha to Eisav when he says, and your brother, he is also blessed. Yitchak realizes that he was mistaken in thinking that Yaakov was limited to the tents.

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