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Vertluch: Parshas Toldos

‘…and Esav despised the birthright.’ (25; 34)

As the boys grew older, Yaakov took a liking to studying Torah while Esav enjoyed hunting through the fields. After finishing an exhilarating day out in the field, Esav comes home to find Yaakov cooking up some lentils. Rashi makes a point to note that this episode took place immediately following the death of Avraham, as he shouldn’t bear witness to the path of life that Esav chose for himself.

As the pasuk informs us, Esav came in and demanded some food from Yaakov; ‘Pour into [me] some of this red, red [pottage], for I am faint’. (25; 30) It was at that point that Yaakov convinced Esav to sell him the rights to the firstborn-which he did. ‘Sell me as of this day your birthright. Esav replied, Behold, I am going to die; so why do I need this birthright? And Yaakov said, ‘Swear to me as of this day; so he swore to him, and he sold his birthright to Yaakov.’ (25; 31-33)

If you will notice, right after Esav agreed to sell the bechora to Yaakov is when he actually demonstrated how he despised the bechora. Yet, the Torah didn’t mention that until after the entire story was over. Why did the Torah wait until the conclusion of this segment in the parsha to inform us-that now-‘…and Esav despised the birthright.’ (25; 34)?

The Dubna Maggid offers an unbelievable answer, with a story.

There was a boy that came into yeshiva with a brand new fifty dollar toy. All the other boys were jealous of this toy and wished it was theirs. In middle of the day, the boy with the toy noticed that a friend in the class had a donut-full of sprinkles-and it had caught his eye. He walked over to him and asked for a piece but the boy refused. A while later he returned to the boy hoping he would have a change of heart, but once again the boy responded in the negative. The boy with the donut realized that this was his chance, so he said to him ‘if you give me the toy I will give you the donut.’ At that point the boy with the toy was extremely hungry and his stomach had began to growl heavily. With the hunger pains in full gear, he agreed. As soon as his hunger subsided he realized how silly he was and how it wasn’t a fair trade. He walked over to his friend and explained that he was really hungry and it really wasn’t fair because he wasn’t thinking, etc…and he regretted the whole transaction.

Sometimes people cave in and may do things for immediate satisfaction. Yet, at the end there is always a feeling of remorse which proves that what was done previously was really due to bad judgment.

The Torah came to tell us that Yaakov got him; he played on his emotions. Esav ate, got up and left as if he got the better end of the deal. Up until now we can say that he was extremely hungry and that he really was a good guy, yet his hunger consumed him. But after all is said and done take a look at what his feeling were. No regret, no remorse; nothing. He couldn’t care less as to what had just happened. Now, was the ultimate sign that the bechora meant absolutely nothing to him at all, even from the beginning.

If we think about it it’s like that with everything. We all make mistakes and we do things we aren’t supposed to do. But whether it’s defined as who we are or not- can also be based upon the outcome, afterwards. Was there any element of regret? If there was no remorse and zero guilt of what had just transpired then that can be a clear sign of who you may be. But even after one falls and gives in to their yetzer hara due to a burning desire- but immediately regrets it-it can define them that it is not who they really are. They’re above it-but they fell.
That’s how we can explain how he despised the bechora; he did something wrong but felt no remorse.

We as humans make mistakes. But we cannot allow our actions to pave the way of life for us. Our lifestyles should come before we perform them, and if we slip-there should be a feeling of remorse. By doing so and showing the Ribono Shel Olam that we are trying our hardest-He will surely send us a much needed yeshua and redeem us from this terrible galus.


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