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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Toldos

The Peace That Honors

"Girls, girls, please stop fighting."

"Imma, Rivkie started it. She woke me up. She is so inconsiderate. Let her apologize."

"It's not my fault, Imma. Ruchie is far too sensitive. I tried to be as quiet as possible and hardly made any noise. She has to apologize."

"Oy oy oy. What will we do? Girls, I have a suggestion. Are you willing to listen to what the Sefer Chassidim has to say about fighting among siblings?"

"It sounds interesting, Imma."

"He expounds on a verse in this week's parasha. 'Now Eisav harbored hatred toward Yaakov because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. And Eisav said in his heart: "Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Yaakov"' (Bereshis 27:41). The Sefer Chassidim (571) points out that Eisav would not dream of killing his brother Yaakov while his father Yitzchak was alive. Eisav excelled in the mitzvah of honoring his father. He knew that fighting among siblings causes parents great tsaar (anguish). Therefore, although Eisav was wicked in many ways, the thought of harming Yaakov during Yitzchak's lifetime was unthinkable to him."

"Eisav was plotting to do some very bad harm. Our quarreling is much, much milder. However, does it cause you tsaar, Imma?"

"Very much so, girls. When you get along, you give me so much nachas. However, when you fight, oy va voy."

"We are sorry, Imma."

"Rivkie and Ruchie, I accept your apologies. Come let us finish the Sefer Chassidim. He points out a fundamental mistake that Eisav made. He felt that killing Yaakov after Yitzchak passed away would not cause his father any tsaar. Eisav did not realize that the neshama (soul) lives on after the guf (body) dies. It knows everything that is going on in this world. Therefore, Eisav would not cause any less tsaar by waiting until after Yitzchak's petira (passing). We see from this that peace among siblings is a lifetime endeavor. It is a way of honoring parents both while they are alive, and after they leave this world."

"This is a very valuable mitzvah, Imma. Kibbud av vi'aim (honoring your father and mother) is one of the mitzvos that bring fruits in this world and reward in the next world. The Torah explicitly states that one who honors his parents will live a long life. Most mitzvos bein adam li'chaveyro (between man and his fellow man) can only be performed as long as the person is alive. Kibbud av vi'aim continues even after they are no longer alive! The impact of this mitzvah is mind boggling!"

"That's right Ruchie. Therefore, it is very worthwhile for you to make a big effort to avoid quarreling. You will be giving Abba and me great nachas, which is the essence of this awesome mitzvah."

Kinderlach . . .

How do we honor our parents? By giving them nachas. Our Torah giants went to great lengths to do wonderful things for their parents. To give a parent tsaar is the worst mistake that one can make in this mitzvah. What gives parents aggravation? Fighting amongst the children. Therefore, it should be avoided at all costs. Be easygoing with your brothers and sisters. Compromise for the sake of peace. Patience, calmness, soft words, and smiles keep peace in the home. This gives Abba and Imma so much nachas! This is the way to honor your parents!

Take It To Heart

"Who is that man?"

"He looks very righteous."

"Yes, he seems very knowledgeable about mitzvos."

"And he is dressed like a righteous person."

"He must be one of the hidden tsaddikim. Let's ask him his name."

"Excuse me."


"What is the Rav's name?"

"Eisav ben Yitzchak."

Eisav is often portrayed as a rasha gomur (completely evil person). He is a wild man, who will perform any aveyra that suits him. Murder, robbery, idol worship are his daily fare. He keeps company with wicked people and learns from their ways. However, the Baalei Mussar see Eisav in a different light. He is the quintessential liar, deceiving everyone in the world, including himself. He puts on an external appearance of righteousness. Like the swine, who spreads his feet to the world proclaiming, "I am kosher - look at my split hooves." Yet, inside he is treif as treif can be. In this way, we can learn from Eisav. Our avodah (service to) Hashem cannot be shallow. It is not enough to sport external trappings. A blessing made without kavannah (concentration) is merely external. A mitzvah performed routinely, without thought, is only skin deep. Wearing the garb of a righteous person can be a chilul Hashem if one does not conduct himself properly. Our purpose in the world is to deepen our Avodas Hashem. To understand the mitzvos and to perform with a deep understanding of what we are doing. To place Hashem deep in our hearts and our souls. This is the way of true tsaddikim.

Kinderlach . . .

We recite Aleinu three times each day. At the end of the first paragraph we find the verse, "You shall know this day and take to your heart that Hashem, He is the G-d - in Heaven above and on the earth below - there is none other" (Devarim 4:39). There is a difference between "knowing" and "taking to heart". Eisav knew a lot. However, he did not take it to heart. The distance between the head and the heart is often longer than we realize. The Baalei Mussar are telling us to cross that bridge from the head to the heart. Put the mitzvos into our heart, and put our heart into the mitzvos.

Parasha Questions:

If Eisav only spoke to his heart about killing Yaakov, how did Rivka know about it? (Rashi 27:42)

Where did Yitzchak send Yaakov to find a wife? (28:2)

When Eisav saw that Yitzchak disapproved of his Canaanite wives, whom did he then marry? (28:9)

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