Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

The Gemara in Bava Basra 16b states that Avraham died on the date when Esav returned from the field and Yaakov was cooking lentil soup. The Gemara explains that when the Torah writes in Bereishis 25:29 that Esav was tired, it was due to Esav having committed five major sins earlier in the day. 

Although the Gemara in Bava Basra details the five sins and links them to other pesukim in the Torah, Rabbi Frand indicated that he wanted to focus on one particular sin --the rejecting of the Ikar (most important). The Gemara in Bava Basra explains that Esav rejected the Ikar by saying, why do I need the Bechora (first born rights)? The Gemara ties the use of the words Zeh Li to the statement made by the Jews after they crossed the Yam Suf  "Zeh Keili V'Anvehu". 

R' Frand quoted the Tolner Rebbi who explained the connection between the two pesukim by quoting another Gemara which states that the visions of the slavewoman when crossing the Yam Suf were more clear than the visions that the prophet Yechezkel had. But how can that be, since the week before the Jews were on the penultimate lowest level of tumah and the angels had remarked that both the Jews and Egyptians were idol worshipers? Meanwhile, in order to merit a prophetic vision, a prophet must improve himself to be worthy!

The Tolner Rebbi explained that Hashem gave the Jews a wonderful power -- the power of Teshuva, the power to improve and repent for what was done wrong. This was how the slavewoman merited the clarity of vision...and it was thoroughly rejected by Esav. Indeed, when Esav said why do I need the Bechora, what he was truly saying was, I can't repent, I can't change, I'm too far gone. How can I have the Bechora and do the Avodah in the Beis Hamikdash, when I am such a Rasha? I don't have the power to change or do Teshuva.

R' Frand also linked this to a saying of the Kotzker Rebbi who noted that Esav's use of the words Haliteni Na (loosely translated in context as, please give me) in Bereishis 25:30 is odd, because the verb is more appropriately used in reference to animals, not people (see Gemara Shabbos). But when viewed in connection with Esav saying that he lacks the human element of change, it is logical. Esav is saying that he is like an animal, he can only act and cannot improve. This is a rejection of the important concept of Teshuva.

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1 comment:

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