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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 27, v. 19: "Onochi Eisov b'cho'recho" - I am Eisov your firstborn - Our Rabbis explain that Yaakov was within his rights to say these words as they could be understood as: "Onochi," it is I. "Eisov b'chorecho," Eisov is your firstborn, notwithstanding that he knew that Yitzchok would misunderstand these words.

The Russian czar issued an edict that the Karaites, a group of Jews who incorrectly only lived by the literal written words of the Torah, would be given equal rights as any other citizens. At the same time he issued edicts that took away right after right from the Torah-true Jews. It came to the point that some of the traditional Jews were on the brink of starvation. They had the option to sign a document that they were Karaites, but were concerned that this might run against a halacha in O.Ch Y.D. 157:2, that one may not save his life by saying that he is an idolater. They were concerned that since these people denied Toras Moshe, which included Torah sheb'al peh, that this was akin to signing a document stating that they were idolaters. This question was sent to the Maharsha"m.

He responded (responsa 8:166) that it was permitted. He based this on the gemara Kidushin 49a, which states that if one made kidushin with a woman condition to the stipulation that he was a "Karo'oh," if he was capable of "reading" Tanach, then the kidushin are binding, as "Karo'oh" is understood not as a Karaite, but rather as a literate person. Based on this he permitted people to document that they were "Karo'im," and have in mind that it means that they were capable of reading.

Ch. 27, v. 21: "Ha'atoh zeh bni Eisov" - Are you my son Eisov - Yitzchok was a prophet. Hashem could simply have informed Yitzchok that it was His wish that Yitzchok bless Yaakov rather than Eisov. Why didn't Hashem do so and we could have avoided all this impersonation, etc.? Had Hashem done this, Yitzchok would have wondered why his favoured son, whom he thought was extremely righteous, was relegated. He undoubtedly would have made a major investigation and found out the devastating news that Eisov was a charlatan, which would have hurt Yitzchok to the core. He would then not have been in a joyous framework of mind, and the blessing to Yaakov would have been greatly diminished. (Droshos hoRan)

Ch. 27, v. 22: "Hakole kole Yaakov v'ha'yoda'yim y'dei Eisov" - The voice is the voice of Yaakov and the hands are the hands of Eisov - The M.R. 68:20 says: When the voice of Yaakov is heard in synagogues there will not be the hands os Eisov, but if not, there will be the hands of Eisov. This is most puzzling, as the verse seems to say the opposite, that there will be the voice of Yaakov and at the same time there will be the hands of Eisov. The gemara Brochos 38b says that when the bnei Yisroel will do the will of Hashem their physical labour will be tended to by others. We can thus interpret our verse to mean that when the voice is the voice of Yaakov, i.e. it is heard in the synagogues, then the hands, the hands that are needed to toil in physical needs, will be the hands of Eisov, meaning that others will tend to our physical needs. (Degel Machaneh Efrayimn)

Ch. 27, v. 23: "V'lo hikiro" - And he did not recognize him - How many people can you list from Sefer Breishis who were impersonators of another or were mistakenly identified as another person?

Ch. 27, v. 28: "V'yitein l'cho hoElokim" - And may G-d give you - Elokim is an expression of stringent judgment. Why did Yitzchok express his blessings with this Name rather than with the Name of mercy? Thinking that he was blessing Eisov and being exposed to some negativity from him, i.e. his wives served idols in Yitzchok's home, etc., he only wanted the blessings to be fulfilled if Eisov deserved them based on the strict letter of the law. (n.l.)

Ch. 27, v. 28: "V'rov dogon v'sirosh" - And an abundance of grain and wine - Grain for bread is an absolutely necessary staple. Wine is a luxury. It is only when there is an abundance of wine that a person may indulge in wine, because there is also sufficient grain for the poor. When the poor don't even have bread, then the wealthy should not indulge in wine. Rather, they should buy bread for those who cannot afford it. (Oznayim laTorah)

Ch. 27, v. 37: "V'es kol echov nosati lo laavodim v'dogon v'sirosh smachtiv" - And all his brothers I have given him as servants and grain and wine I have sustained him - It is understandable that by telling Eisov that all his relatives will be servants to Yaakov is a negative outcome for Eisov of Yaakov's receiving the blessings, but what concern is it for Eisov that Yaakov would have sufficient grain and wine? There is more than enough for Yaakov and Eisov. The gemara Gitin 12a cites the opinion of Rabbon Shimon ben Gamliel that in a year of famine when the master of a slave is hard-pressed for food and is not supplying a sufficient amount for his slave, the slave has a right to challenge his master with, "Either sustain me or emancipate me." Thus Eisov might think that sooner or later there will be a great shortage of food and his descendants will have a legitimate claim to be freed. Yitzchok is therefore telling him that the blessing includes Yaakov's being amply supplied with grain and wine, thus wiping out any hopes Eisov might have for being emancipated. (Rabbi Aharon Rokei'ach Admor Belz)

Ch. 27, v. 41: "Yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi vaahargoh es Yaakov ochi" - When the days of mourning for my father will come close and I will kill Yaakov my brother - The Shach explains these words in a most interesting manner. Eisov was not ready to forego mourning halochos. However, he also wanted to keep his mourning to a bare minimum. He therefore said that if he were to kill Yaakov immediately he would have to mourn for him and eventually again for his father. He calculated that if he were to wait for the death of his father and then immediately kill his brother Yaakov he could concurrently mourn both of them, saving himself one "shivoh."

Most ironically, he saved himself a "shivoh" based on the gemara Sotoh, that he was killed at Yaakov's funeral, and based on the Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 18:41 he was saved from both "shivos." The medrash relates that when Yaakov died the sons of Yaakov did not follow him into the cave when he went after his father's bier. Eisov, as a son, also entered. Yehudoh feared that Eisov might try to harm his Yaakov when they were there alone and indeed, he entered and found Eisov preparing to bring Yaakov to an end. Yehudoh killed him on the spot from behind. Eisov was thus "spared" from "shivoh" for his father and for his brother.

Ch. 27, v. 41: "Yik'r'vu y'mei eivel ovi vaahargoh es Yaakov ochi" - When the days of mourning for my father will come close and I will kill Yaakov my brother - Since our verse is relating Eisov's diabolical scheme, why in his mind did he say to himself "Yaakov MY BROTHER?" Perhaps, Eisov was afraid to attack Yaakov, as Yaakov might likely overpower him. However, when they would be mourning for their father, a time of muted personal considerations, lusts, etc., Yaakov would not be on guard. He would be more of an "ochi," - my brother. At the moment when Yaakov's guard would be down, that is when Eisov planned to attack. (n.l.)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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