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Parshas Toldos

11/06/09 20:08:49


Rabbi Moshe Lieber

By: Rabbi Moshe Lieber
Date: November 27, 2008

Eating it Raw


When Eisav comes in from the field ravenously hungry he says to Yaakov “‘Please (  (ðà pour into me some of that very red stuff for I am exhausted’ therefore he was called Edom”.


The meforshim ask a few questions. Firstly since when does Eisav act with good manners and say “please”? (See Rashi to 27:22).Secondly lentils are reddish brown only before they are cooked; upon cooking they turn greenish? Thirdly why does Eisav refer to the food as the red stuff rather than calling it a stew? It seems childish and primitive much like “Give me the red cake or lollipop”. Finally is this isolated incident a reason to call Eisav by the name Edom? Names denote essence; how does this incident reflect the essence of Eisav?


Mei HaShiloach teaches us that Eisav’s statement “Look, I’m going to die of what use is to me the birthright?” is an expression of his philosophy of life. “Man has no choice of how to live his life, everything is predetermined. I’m going to die anyway and how I live makes no difference so why do I need the birthright which would grant me the right to serve as a servant of Hashem?”


The word ðà means raw and also means now. We believe that Hashem calls out to us “Let us make man” namely that He grants us talents, charm, intellect and opportunities and asks us to turn it into a meaningful life. Eisav rejects the possibility that man affects his own life. From his vantage point life is raw ingredients with no way for man to cook it into a tasty dish. Eisav said to Yaakov “Pour into me now the raw red stuff .Life is raw red stuff waiting to be consumed as is”.


Maharal speaks frequently of çåîø (raw material ) and of  öåøä (form) as terms for physical and spiritual. Raw matter can be given form if one places limitations on where it will spread. The physical side of the human rejects limitations and seeks to be without form. Mans job in life is to make choices that place limitations on himself so that his life assumes form and meaning. Eisav who denies the existence of free choice sees life as raw matter. Hence he doesn’t ask for stew (the form) he asks for the red stuff.


Matter without form is the rallying cry of Eisav who asks for the red stuff. He therefore is called Edom.


Let us maximize our ability to choose and realize that we were granted all the ingredients necessary to cook up a delectable dish of life which will please Hashem and open up for us the maximum opportunities for true happiness and fulfillment.

Mon, August 10 2020 20 Av 5780