Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues
BEYOND "BY EXAMPLE":
"V'Aileh Toldos Yitzchak Ben Avraham, Avraham Holid Ess Yitzchak"
These are the children of Yitzchak (Isaac) the son of Avraham (Abraham), Avraham begat Yitzchak.
The words "Avrohom, begat Yitzchak" seem redundant because the verse already stated that Yitzchak was the son of Avraham. Rabbi Moshe Feinstien (of blessed memory) explains the separate meanings of the phrases "the son of Avraham" and "Avraham begat Yitzchak"
Avraham was the paragon of righteousness and Yitzchak loyally followed his example. This is alluded to by the words "the son of Avraham". Yitzchak was a son who embraced his father's example.
However, his development was not left to chance. Avraham took an active role in Yitzchak's spiritual growth. This is what the verse indicates with the words "Avraham begat Yitzchak." Avraham not only set an example for Yitzchak but provided him with proper guidance as well.
Good role models are essential for a child, but without proper guidance there is no assurance that he will emulate them.
"Vayomer Eisav Ell Yaakov Haaliteni Na Min Ha'adom Ha'adom Hazeh Ki Oyef Anochi etc."
And Eisav (Esau) said to Yaakov "Pour down my throat of this red stuff please, because I am weary."
The Bais Halevi explains these verses as follows.
Although Avraham had passed away that day, Eisav didn't want to be bothered with mourning. Nevertheless, he was ashamed to appear apathetic about Avraham's passing while he enjoyed his meal. He decided to pretend to be unaware of Avraham's passing until he finished eating.
The food that aroused Eisav's appetite was a porridge made of lentils; a dish traditionally prepared for mourners. Eisav referred to it as "that red stuff" as if he didn't realize what kind of food it was. He could thus feign ignorance about the cause for the family's mourning. At his first spoonful, however, he would be forced to acknowledge that he was eating a mourner's dish. To avoid being faced by unwelcome hints of Avraham's passing, he asked that the food be poured down his throat. He pretended that he was doing so because "I am weary " i.e. I don't have strength to feed myself.
(Rashi comments that throat-stuffing is the way camels are fed. By eating in such a manner, Eisav was able to close his eyes to the food and what it represented. He could then enjoy himself without a twinge of guilt. It is an important lesson to see how a man can lower himself to the level of animals in his quest for pleasure without guilt.)
For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to email@example.com
Shema Yisrael Torah Network