Be’Ohel Hanevi’im: Shabbos Toldos

(Friday, November 16th, 2012)

This week’s Haftorah opens with a theme that seems very similar to that of the Sedra. Hashem tells us (through Malachi) that He loves us and that He hates Eisav. However before Hashem tells us this the paasuk tells us “isn’t Eisav a brother to Yaakov?” Aside from the poetic wording of the Passuk it is difficult to understand the contrast the passuk is making.

Many of the Meforshim seem to ignore this odd and obvious contrast. The Metzudos Dovid however addresses this issue. The Metzudos Dovid explains the Haftorah starts off by Hashem telling us that he loves us (Bnei Yaakov) and if we are going to ask how He loves us His answer is that Eisav and Yaakov were brothers and He loved Yaakov and hated Eisav. The Metzudos Dovid explains further: the question the Passuk is allowing us to ask is how do we see that Hashem loves us and is bringing us back to our homeland because of who we (ourselves) are? How do we know that Hashem isn’t bringing us back merely out of love for our forefathers? To this Hashem answers Yaakov and Eisav were brothers and Hashem only loved Yaakov. If Hashem were to have loved Yaakov because he was the son of Yitzchok and the Grandson of Avrohom then Hashem should have loved Yaakov and Eisav equally.

While the Metzudos Dovid seems to answer our difficulty with theses Pessukim we are nonetheless left with an unanswered difficulty. The Metzudos Dovid answered how we know that Hashem loved Yaakov personally and not just because he was Yitzchok Avinu’s son, but it didn’t explain how we know that Hashem loves us for who we are and not because we are Yaakov Avinu’s children?

In this Nevua of Malachi Hashem is talking to the children of Yaakov Avinu – Klal-Yisroel and to the children of Eisav Horasha – Edom. Hashem however differentiates between us and Edom by the fact that we are descendants from Yaakov, and that Yaakov Avinu Avinu was loved for who he was. Hashem still refers to Edom of today as Eisav and Hashem emphasizes that He hates Eisav for who he is.

Over the centuries there were many Jews who were lost to assimilation. While they and maybe even their children were Halachically Jewish they no longer exist as Jews. An example of this is the vast majority of the ten tribes that seem to have disappeared. There is a discussion in the Gemorah as to whether when we are redeemed the ten tribes will join us. This question is left unsolved and we don’t and won’t know until the final redemption comes about. What is clear however is that those that associate themselves as Bnei Yaakov and the good that Yaakov represents will surely be redeemed in the final redemption.

It isn’t entirely clear nowadays who represents Eisav and what nation holds the title Edom.

We find ourselves in turbulent times. Political tides in the world have changed drastically in the past few years. It is likely that buried in the turbulence is the force representing Edom. We are Jews and we must remember we are Bnei Yaakov and we form an axis of good, while Edom is forming an axis of Evil. We mustn’t cling to anything that can be Edom. We as Bnei-Yaakov must cling to each other and to our homeland.

Hashem needs to refine the nations of the world from the forces of Yishmael and Eisav. This refining process may not be pretty. Klal-Yisroel is pure and already refined we must keep ourselves from being drawn into the nations of the worlds mess by focusing on Torah and Mitzvos.

A very Warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski

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