Proper Perspective – Rav Aryeh Brueckheimer
When telling the details of Esav selling his bechora to Yaakov, the Torah says that Yaakov, “had given” (25:24) Esav the soup. Rav Hirsch (there) says that we can understand from this wording that Esav was not pressured into selling his bechora for the soup, but rather that it was at the time when he was already eating the soup that the sale took place.
Furthermore, Rav Hirsch explains that the word machar does not only mean sale, but sometimes means to relinquish something, and he suggests that that was what occurred here. As chazal tell us, Avraham Avinu was just niftar and Yaakov was concerned over how Esav the hunter was in line to continue the legacy after Yitzchak would be niftar. What transpired over the soup according to Rav Hirsch, was more of a discussion between Esav and Yaakov, with Yaakov wanting to give up physical wealth in order to be the spiritual continuation of Avraham and Yitzchak by becoming the bechor, and Esav happy to free himself from the spiritual responsibility that the bechora was and be able to pursue physical enjoyments and wealth.
Rav Hirsch continues to explain that Bnei Yisrael inherited the ability to forgo physical achievements for spiritual ones from Yaakov Avinu. On a practical level, we should think about if we are utilizing this ability when faced with choices that may compromise our ability to fulfill the mitzvos properly.
The Chofetz Chaim (Kuntras Nefutsos Yisrael) spoke out about those who in his day wanted to travel abroad to attain wealth in environments that not only were not conducive to maintaining one’s spiritual level but were detrimental to it. Certainly if certain luxuries will cause us to loose time from learning or will compromise our performance of mitzvos we should forgo them. There are many enticements out there, but we should not view them as befitting us. As nachlas Yaakov we should have the strength and proper perspective to distance ourselves from physical or material temptations and instead be ambitious spiritually.
After Esav’s soup was done he was left with nothing. This is the same conclusion that all those who follow in Esav’s way arrive at, while those who like Yaakov go in pursuit of spiritual achievements acquire nitzchiyus.
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