Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Toldot
To dedicate this lesson

We Want Esav’s Hands


Rabbi Haggai Lundin

The root of the argument between Rivka and Yitzhak is who will govern and judge in the real world. Yitzhak is aware of Esav, the "jewel", who grew up in his home, of his materialism and pretentiousness, but it seemed to him that people like Esav – fearless hunters – are needed to run the world. Yaakov seemed to be too naïve, a delicate Torah scholar. Rivka, on the other hand, who grew up in Lavan’s house, recognized and knew that people like Esav are not only spiritually problematic but also a danger in real life. A legal system, disconnected from belief and spirituality, will at some point lose true judgement, will have mercy on the cruel and thus allow them to continue to be brutal to the weak.

Rivka proposes and succeeds in establishing an ideal combination: "the voice is the voice of Yaakov but the hands are the hands of Esav" – a system that is sourced from Yaakov's voice, eternal Jewish values, and precisely from this, treats terrorists with "the hands of Esav" – firmly without compromise. When the truth is clear, the enemy is not confused with friends, and the real world is run in a more worthy way.
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