Eisav-Western Man

In פרשת תולדות, we are introduced to the character known as עשו. Rabbi Soloveitchik makes some interesting observations about this biblical character.

From birth, עשו was unusual in that he looked like a mature adult. And from birth, he already had the inborn hatred of Yakov. The Rav said that this principle of הלכה בידוע שעשו שונא את יעקב, this known principle that Eisav hated Yakov, was really a fight between the holy and profane. This enmity began well before the Arab conflict with the Zionists.

The Rav further said that Eisav has a great deal in common with modern, Western man. As an איש שדה, he was driven by a desire for wealth, luxury, and fame. He was interested in affluence and he did not believe in Providence.

He denied עולם הבא when he said, הנה אנוכי הולך למות, behold I am going to die. Yakov, on the other hand, was the opposite and was interested in the pursuit of holiness by way of simplicity and faith in G-d. We are to recognize this contrast and pursue the path of Yakov. Shabbat Shalom