These are the events which transpire in our parsha, as Jacob, the younger brother, receives the blessing meant for the firstborn, Esav, from their father Isaac. The commentaries discuss this strange episode at length, and there are many insights given as to Jacob’s motivation. Esav is clearly an unsavory character, so why indeed is Isaac so keen on blessing him? And why should Jacob go to such lengths to receive this blessing instead?!
A Chasidic interpretation goes like this. Their father Isaac’s blessing would convey upon the recipient the strengths and powers necessary to become the next link in the chain of the fledgling Jewish people. It would determine which of the two brothers would be the spiritual successor. Isaac recognized in Esav a raw, untapped, G-dly power. True, he was uncouth and extremely materialistic, but Isaac hoped that with his blessing, eventually Esav would “turn over a new leaf” and allow his potential to be realized. Then he would use his materialistic nature for holy purposes. Whereas Jacob was a “straightforward man, who dwelled in tents.” Jacob’s involvement with the physical world was much less than his pursuit of G-dly knowledge.
Jacobs mother Rivka knew that at this stage of the Jewish people’s formation, an overt attachment to materialism would be a dangerous thing. Jacob, whose power was perhaps less raw, was more focused in the right direction. So she arranged this subterfuge to ensure the spiritual direction her family would take would not be threatened by any negative outcomes.
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Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Akiva Hall