True Torah Codes II
I must first correct a statement in last weeks article. Jacob did not obtain the Blessings of Abraham from Esav: that was to be his regardless of Isaac blessing Esav. Jacob actually sought the birthright blessings, which are separate from Abrahams Blessings. Let us begin
Last week we discussed the Torahs subtle method of relating disclosed ideas. The very texts that give rise to perplexing questions are also Gods intended clues to their answers. We wondered why Jacob was so quickly prepared to request Esavs, birthright. Why did Rivkah love Jacob more than Esav? Why did she never tell Isaac her prophetic knowledge that the older Esav would serve the younger Jacob? Why did she feel that she must deceive Isaac to insure Jacob receives the birthright blessings? Why was she informed of the fact that Jacob would be superior, while Isaac did not receive such a prophecy? And why was Jacobs hand clutching Esavs heel?
We had answered that there was a need for Rivkah to learn of the different natures of her two sons. She learned through prophecy that Jacob would be the superior. But she also learned through seeing his hand clutching Esavs heel, one more essential lesson. Through this act, Rivkah learned that Jacob possessed the natural tendency to usurp Esav. It was only through this knowledge gained by seeing his hand grabbing his brothers heel that Rivkah thereby learned that she must harness his nature to insure the prophecy comes to be. Had she merely received knowledge that Jacob was to be superior, this knowledge alone does not compel her to act. Rather, it was the physical act of Jacob grabbing his brothers heel through which Rivkah understood she was seeing this for a reason. She deduced that this competitive display was necessary to indicate that her two sons have various natures, through which, she must play a role to insure these natures are acted out. She must make Jacob topple Esav in status, when the time is right.
Rivkah imparted this knowledge to Jacob, which we said explains why Jacob was so ready to request the birthright that day. For Jacob was always ready, and waiting for the right moment to follow his mothers imperative to seize his brothers heel, i.e., seizing the birthright.
We also said Rivkah was correct to never tell Isaac, and also to steal the birthright for Isaac would not react properly had he learned that Esav was not befitting of the birthright. He would not accept that in theory. This is clearly proven when Isaac is trembling at the knowledge that he unknowingly, but successfully transferred the birthright to Jacob. He understood now, for the first time, that he had gravely misjudged his beloved Esav. He now realized Esav was not up to par. This greatly distressed Isaac. But it also confirmed that Rivkah was correct to never involve Isaac in her prophecy, or her plans to assist Jacob in usurping his elder brother.
Having read this, my friend Shaya asked a great question: I understand that after Rivkah witnessed Isaac favoring Esav, that Rivkah had grounds to omit Isaac from her prophecy and her plans. But before she even had the prophecy, prior to giving birth she avoided asking Isaac for an explanation of her abnormal pregnancy! She asked Shem or Abraham. How can you explain this avoidance of Isaac before Isaac ever expressed any favoritism towards Esav? I recognized the problem Shaya had raised, and immediately went back to the verses.
Reading from the very beginning of the Parsha, I was bothered by the first two verses:
And these are the generations of Isaac son of Abraham; Abraham bore Isaac. And it was when Isaac was forty that he took Rivkah the daughter of Betuel the Arami from Padan Aram, the sister of Lavan the Arami, for a wife.
Think about this: the first verse already says Isaac son of Abraham. Why then does it repeat, Abraham bore Isaac? And in verse 2, if we are already told that Betuel Lavans father was an Arami, and if this means a nationality, why are we told again that Lavan was also an Arami? If Lavans father was an Arami, then we know Lavan his son is also an Arami!
There are no redundancies in Gods Torah messages. I thought about the first question. I realized Abraham bore Isaac must indicate something new. The word bore is also a difficulty, since men cannot be termed as bearing children. That implies pregnancy. This must mean something to do with the word bore.
Abraham sought a wife for Isaac. We thereby learn that Isaac was incapable of selecting one for himself. We may suggest, Abraham bore Isaac, means that Abraham raised Isaac. In other words, Isaac more than any other was in need of fatherly dedication and guidance. He was not as others, who become independent so quickly from youth. His self-sacrifice on the altar had a profound affect on his nature. He was not even allowed to leave the land, as God told him to remain in Gerar and not descend to Egypt. Therefore, this first verse seeks to emphasize Isaacs nature as greatly dependent on Abraham.
The second verse teaches an apparent redundancy as well. We know Betuel is an Arami, so it is unnecessary to teach that his son Lavan too was an Arami if that means a nationality. Or Hachaim teaches that Arami in fact is not indicating a nationality, but a character trait. Switching two letters (in Hebrew) in Arami, renders it into Ramai, meaning a swindler. A liar. In this verse, we are being taught that Isaac married a woman whose father and brother were liars. So even though we are taught that Betuel is a liar, we must also be taught that Lavan too chose this lifestyle, as it is not inherited, as seen from Rivkahs upright stature. Now the questions
Why must we learn of Isaacs dependency on Abraham? Why must we learn that Rivkahs father and brother were liars? I feel these two verses answer Shayas question.
We are taught that Rivkah one who observed a cunning personality in her father and brother was able to detect Isaacs shortcomings in terms of interpersonal issues. This prompted Rivkah to avoid approaching her husband Isaac with matters of her pregnancy. The Torah cleverly hints to the reason why Rivkah avoided Isaac: he was not fit, and she was cunning enough to know this from experiencing shrewd human nature in her home. We now understand why she went to Abraham or Shem and not Isaac when she was in need of understanding the nature of her pregnancy, and how it might affect the establishment of Bnei Yisrael.
These two verses appear at the very start of our Parsha, as they explain the succeeding verses, and Rivkahs actions.
No question in Torah is without an answer. This time, we were fortunate enough to discover it. Thank you Shaya.
It is amazing how subtle redundancies can shed light. Again, one of the true codes of Torah.
We might further suggest that Esav recorded as born unnaturally covered with hair conveys Divine intent. The only other mention of Esav's exterior is the means through which Jacob wearing animal skins succeeded in deceiving his father that he was Esav. Perhaps this teaches that God's providence was in play at the very birth of these twins. God ensured a means existed through which the blessings would be successfully transmitted to Jacob.
Why were the blessings necessary at all? God can certainly achieve His plan without man! I believe Isaac's words of blessing were required as a means of silencing those descendants of Esav claiming shared rights to his legacy, along with Jacob. Talmud Sanhedrin teaches how Ben Pasisa responded to Alexander when the Ishmaelites sought claim on Abraham's legacy. Ben Pasisa responded, "If a father sends away all his sons and gives them gifts while yet alive, do these sons have any future claim on the father's legacy?" (Referring to Abraham's casting of all sons except Isaac) This silenced the Ishmaelites. And I believe Isaac's words too were necessary not as causative of blessings, but as his exclusive selection of Jacob. Future generations of Esav can no longer justly claim anything is due to them from Isaac, now that Isaac declared Jacob his sole inheritor.