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To Love a Hunter

11/25/11 06:44:55


R Pesach Siegel

                                                                            Parshas Toldos 5772

The Torah tells us, “VaYe’ehav Yitzchak es Eisav ki tzayid befiv veRivkah oheves es Yaakov.” – And Yitzchak loved Eisav, for he filled his father’s mouth with the products of the hunt, while Rivkah loved Yaakov.

The Medrash adds another dimension to this passage. The words “Ki tzayid befiv” can be referring to the food that Eisav placed in his father’s mouth after a successful hunt. But they also contain another meaning. Ki tzayid befiv – He (Eisav) trapped his father by using the power of his mouth. He would attempt to fool his father into thinking of him as one who is interested in Torah studies. He would ask him questions concerning the laws of taking tithes from straw or salt, thus showing outward piety.

So, evidently, Eisav fooled Yitzchak. He fooled Yitzchak, but Rivkah saw through him. She loved Yaakov.

My rebbe, Rav Mordechai Gifter, z”l, understood differently.

And he would explain to us, his talmidim, that every child is different. One cannot raise all of his children according to one uniform model. If one is blessed with a child like Yaakov Avenu, whose only wish is to spend every single moment immersed in Torah study, the appropriate form of chinuch is “em aveck tzu shiken in Beis Medrash” – Without further ado, send him straight to the Beis Medrash. No coddling is necessary.

Eisav is a totally different story. Eisav is attracted to the great wide world outside. He is a hunter and a killer. Not only that, he is a trickster. Yitzchak was fully aware of Eisav’s endeavors to fool him. His love for his elder son was not due to Eisav’s success at pulling the wool over his father’s eyes.

He gave him a special measure of love, of gentleness and compassion. His needs are different than his brother, Yaakov’s, needs. He needs to feel the love and gentleness of his father’s warm caress. Only this would serve to temper and soften his harsh nature.

The words of the posuk in the Torah flow beautifully. “And Yitzchak loved Eisav because he was a trapper with his mouth.” It was due to Yitzchak’s knowledge and awareness of Eisav’s true nature that he gave him this extra dose of love.

Rav Gifter would conclude. There have been times throughout our history when even the descendants of Eisav found some compassion in their hearts for the children of Yaakov. This is a direct result of the unique child-raising of Eisav by the hands of our common father Yitzchak.

Wed, January 22 2020 25 Teves 5780