Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Avoiding Embarrassment

by Devora Gila Berkowitz

Parshat Toldot

Everyone knows about Rivkah's intuition, her foresight, and her arranging of events so that Yaakov receives the more favorable blessing from his father, rather than Esav. But we might imagine the following scenario happening right before Bereshit, chapter 27, verses 1-45...

"It can't be. It cannot possibly go to Esav. Ever since he married those Hittite girls, he's been a source of spiritual rebellion to us (Bereshit 26:34-5)."
"I know, Rivkaleh. What can we do? He doesn't deserve it, but I don't want to embarrass him."
"Wait a minute, Itzik -- I have an idea, listen to this..."

And so Yitzchak sends Esav out of the house, while Rivkah prepares Yaakov to receive the blessing. Now they have a story to report to Esav when he finds out what he's missed.

How else can we explain the events of these verses? Do we really think Yitzchak is confused enough to mix up his two sons? He may lack sight, but he's not senile....

Here's a thought. Esav is not capable of accepting the consequences for his actions. He just dives into one evil thing after the other. Knowing this, his parents perform all of this drama for the mitzvah of not embarrassing another person, which is akin to murder. What could Yitzchak possibly say to Esav? "Son, I've decided that I cannot, in good conscience, give you a favorable blessing..." That wouldn't go over very well. 

So Yitzchak and Rivkah together create an environment to avoid having to embarrass Esav -- again, akin to murder. Better to let him deal with his emotions on his own. The only drawback is that now he wants to kill his brother...

Can you think of a time when someone else received what you thought you deserved? Open to the possibility that you weren't ready to receive whatever it was. Realize that only Hashem knows the bigger picture. Only Hashem knows exactly what we need and when.

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