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Simcha Groffman

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Kinder Torah
For parents to share with children at the Shabbos Table

Parashas Toldos

Admit It

Eisav was hungry. He had had a busy day. He had committed five of the worst aveyros (sins) and now he was famished. Yaakov was cooking beans. "Eisav said to Yaakov, 'Pour into me (my mouth) some of that very red stuff, for I am exhausted'" (Bereshis 25:30). The Medrash Rabba explains that this is the way to feed a camel; pour the food into his mouth. Eisav wanted to be fed like a camel. He was very hungry. Yaakov would give the food to him, but for a price - Eisav's bechora (first-born rights). What were these rights? The bechoros would serve in the Beis HaMikdash (were it not for the chet ha'egel [sin of the golden calf]). All of the reward for all of the sacrifices offered in the Beis HaMikdash belonged to Eisav and his descendents. How did Eisav value this? It wasn't worth a plate of beans. "I am going to die, so of what use to me is this bechora?" (Bereshis 25:32). Eisav was extremely hungry. And so, he sold the bechora for the beans. He let his hunger get the best of him.

Then Eisav did something even more surprising. The Medrash Rabba relates that he brought in a group of jokers who made fun of the bechora. As the verse states, "And Eisav scorned the bechora" (Bereshis 25:34). Rav Leib Chasman zt"l explains in his sefer, "Ohr Yohel" that this is the way of a person whose desires rule over him. He was hungry. He made a mistake and let his hunger overtake him. However, after he ate, the hunger was no longer burning inside of him. He should have regretted his mistake. Instead, a different desire overtook him - kovod (honor). He did not want to admit that he was wrong. Therefore, he devised a way to justify his aveyra (sin). He scorned the bechora. This is the way of a rasha (evil person). He does not use his G-d given intelligence to overcome his desires. Instead, he is ruled by them, and falls deeper and deeper into sin.

Kinderlach . . .

"Motty, time to come in the house." "But Imma, I'm having so much fun playing in this mud." Motty, please come home now, and clean off your shoes before you walk into the building." Motty reached the entrance of the building. The floors were nice and clean. He did not feel like wiping off his shoes. "No one will see me," he thought. And so, he walked on the clean floor, leaving muddy footprints. As he reached the first floor, he heard footsteps behind him. "Who is that there who made this floor all dirty?" The man hurried up the steps and found Motty running toward his door. "Young man, why did you dirty this nice clean floor?" Motty answered back, "I didn't do it!" The man's face fell. "If a person does not admit his mistakes, what hope does he ever have of correcting them?"

Take It To Heart

"Who is that man?"

"He looks very righteous."

"Yes, he seems very knowledgeable about mitzvos."

"And he is dressed like a righteous person."

"He must be one of the hidden tsaddikim. Let's ask him his name."

"Excuse me."


"What is the Rav's name?"

"Eisav ben Yitzchak."

Eisav is often portrayed as a rasha gomur (completely evil person). He is a wild man, who will perform any aveyra that suits him. Murder, robbery, idol worship are his daily fare. He keeps company with wicked people and learns from their ways. However, the Baalei Mussar see Eisav in a different light. He is the quintessential liar, deceiving everyone in the world, including himself. He puts on an external appearance of righteousness. Like the swine, who spreads his feet to the world proclaiming, "I am kosher - look at my split hooves." Yet, inside he is treif as treif can be. In this way, we can learn from Eisav. Our avodah (service to) Hashem cannot be shallow. It is not enough to sport external trappings. A blessing made without kavannah (concentration) is merely external. A mitzvah performed routinely, without thought, is only skin deep. Wearing the garb of a righteous person can be a chilul Hashem if one does not conduct himself properly. Our purpose in the world is to deepen our avodas Hashem. To understand the mitzvos and to perform with a deep understanding of what we are doing. To place Hashem deep in our hearts and our souls. This is the way of true tsaddikim.

Kinderlach . . .

We recite Aleinu three times each day. At the end of the first paragraph we find the verse, "You shall know this day and take to your heart that Hashem, He is the G-d - in Heaven above and on the earth below - there is none other" (Devarim 4:39). There is a difference between "knowing" and "taking to heart". Eisav knew a lot. However, he did not take it to heart. The distance between the head and the heart is often longer than we realize. The Baalei Mussar are telling us to cross that bridge from the head to the heart. Put the mitzvos into our heart, and put our heart into the mitzvos.

Parasha Questions

How many years were Yitzchak and Rivkah married before Yaakov and Eisav were born? (Rashi 25:26)

What did Eisav trap? (Rashi 25:27)

What do the words "Mea Shearim" mean? (Rashi 26:12)

Why were Yitzchak's eyes dim? (Rashi 27:1)

How do we know that the Avos sacrificed the Korbon Pesach? (Rashi 27:9)

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