Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
“And Yaakov approached Yitzchak his father, and Yitzchak felt him, and said, ‘The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav.’ ” – Bereishis 27:22
To “trick” Yitzchak into giving him the berachah, Yaakov donned Eisav’s clothing, put the skin of an animal on his arms and neck to simulate the hairiness of Eisav, and went in to his father to receive the blessing. As they were twins, the subterfuge was almost perfect, and it seemed as if Yaakov had succeeded. For all intents and purposes, he appeared as Eisav, spoke as Eisav, and presented himself as his twin. Yet something made Yitzchak suspicious, and he said the famous words: “The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav.”
Rashi explains what tipped Yitzchak off. Yaakov used the equivalent of the word “please,” as in “Please, my father, get up. Please, my father, take this.” These were words that Eisav would never utter. Therefore, Yitzchak suspected that it wasn’t Eisav, but rather Yaakov, and he asked to “feel” the person in front of him to determine which of the brothers it was.
This Rashi is very difficult to understand when we take into account Eisav’s relationship with his father.
Eisav had genuine respect and reverence for his father – in fact, he loved him. The Midrash Rabbah says that “In the course of human history, no man ever treated his father with the respect that Eisav treated his father. So how is it possible he was gruff and rude to a man who he loved and adored?
The answer to this question lies in understanding human nature.
Force of Habit
We are engaged in thousands of interactions, choices, and decisions each day. Unlike an animal, which is preprogrammed to perform in a particular manner, the human has free will to choose how he will respond, react, and deal with every situation. If every one of his decisions was a conscious choice that had to be thought out, he would spend his entire day just making them.
A man is approaching. Do I smile and nod, or do I look the other way? He’s looking at me; do I turn my head to respond or do I look out at the trees? When he asks me how my day is, does he expect a detailed inventory of actions or does he mean it in a casual manner?
To allow us to function productively, Hashem gave us the power of habit. Habit allows us to respond almost unconsciously to the thousands of choices we are constantly engaged in. As a result, we can talk and eat dinner at the same time. We can drive a car, watch the traffic, change lanes, and hold a conversation. Most of the actions we engage in are done on auto-pilot. We don’t have to think about them. We have done them before, created our patterns of action and reaction, so now we can just go about our business without having to use up our conscious minds on rote activities. Habit governs and controls most of the actions and choices of our day.
This force is a double-edged sword. It can allow us to accomplish worlds more because of it, but it costs us in the sense that bad habits and poor reactions can lock us into behaviors and responses that don’t accurately represent our will. We’re just stuck with them because of the ruts that we have created.
This seems to be the answer to Rashi. There is no question Eisav deeply respected his father. But Eisav was gruff. His operating mode was curt and rude. Those were the habits that he developed, the manner in which he acted, the patterns that he etched into his soul. Even when he was in a situation of serving a man that he greatly respected, his years of mechanized routine surfaced, and he spoke the way that he usually spoke. When Yaakov impersonated Eisav and used polite terms, it was out of character. Yitzchak noticed something out of synch. This wasn’t the Eisav he had known for so many years.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
It seemed that every time we flew cross-country to participate in a family simcha, we received virtually the same welcome. On one hand, it was as warm and heartfelt as could be from relatives and friends, who were genuinely overjoyed to see us after a prolonged absence.
In our story a couple of kids discover Chanukah within the walls of a gym.
Shemos Rabbah states that Yaakov transmitted the “secret of the redemption.”
Just as the moon waxes and wanes and then totally disappears from view before returning to the night sky, so, too, the Jewish people.
Question: Why do women cover their eyes when they light Shabbat candles?
People thronged from all over Israel to take advantage of this opportunity.
At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.
In this week’s parshah Yaakov Avinu takes his entire family down to Mitzrayim. The Torah lists the family members who made this journey. On the list is Shimon’s son, Shaul. The pasuk refers to him as Shaul ben haCanaanis – the son of the Canaanis.
Chapter And Verse?
‘Has The Time For Slaughter Arrived?’
Question: I have noticed that some people stand during the Birkot Keriat Shema. I was always under the impression that one is supposed to sit for Shema and its berachot. Is there a source that allows one to stand during this part of the prayer?
The wedding was going full blast, with the joyful Jewish music playing. The sound of the violin awoke unfulfilled longings and triggered moisture in the eyes.
The family had reached deadlock.
According to the Sefer Yetzirah, each month is associated with a letter of the aleph-beis. Teves was formed by means of the letter ayin, which has a numerical value of seventy – a number that figures prominently in Judaism.
Development of a modern highway has unearthed the discovery of an Islamic period fountain in a private garden outside the richer ares of Old Ramla, near the airport.
There is a glimmer of hope in fighting corrupt elections in Israel, which is no worse than anywhere else but simply more obvious.
Eli Kwartler, Jewish Community of Amherst co-president, recalls his father reading Yiddish newspapers and discussing politics in Brooklyn delis.
Syrian opposition forces again prove Hezbollah is not invincible. They posted a video showing a direct hit near Damascus on a multi-story Hezbollah building, which collapsed like dominoes.
A naturalized American citizen who immigrated from Jordan in 1995 could be deported from the United States for lying about her conviction for the 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, in which two Israelis were killed. Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66, was arrested Tuesday in her suburban Chicago home on immigration charges and appeared in federal […]
Local elections in Israel are rarely a pretty sight, but the one Beit Shemesh Tuesday night takes this year’s trophy. False IDs and trashing ballots were the tip of the iceberg. By the way, Shas won.
If the effects of “global warming” today are going to be anything like those of the 3,200-year-old drought and cold wave that, according to research in the Kinneret, existed in the Middle East, watch out.
A PA terrorist fled his religious Jewish hostage after cutting off his sid locks in western Gush Etzion. Just as worrisome, the media almost totally ignored the incident. It might upset peace talks.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/love-will-conquer-all/2011/11/24/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: