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Faking It

Faking It

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"Do you come here often?"

"No. I mean, I'm here every day."

"Why did you say, 'No'?"

"Because I hate being here. I feel like such an impostor... This isn't who I am."

"So why do you do it?"

"My mother told me to."


Imagine what Jacob must have felt like dressed in Esau's clothing, stealing into his father's room and conniving to receive the blessings intended for his brother. Wholesome, sensitive Jacob, who had spent his entire lifetime closeted in the "tents of study," donning hunting clothes and pasting artificial hair on his arms and the back of his neck to procure "the dew of heaven and the fat of the land." Whatever for does Jacob need "the dew of heaven and the fat of the land," anyway?

Indeed, Isaac planned to divide the world between his two sons. Esau the enterprising "man of the world" would get its material resources, and holy Jacob would inherit the spiritual legacy of Abraham. Jacob would preside over the tents of study where the divine wisdom is learned and taught, and in which a plaque on the wall would credit brother Esau for his generous contributions toward the support of these holy endeavors.

But Rebecca intervened. No, she said, the material world cannot be left to the materialists. It is the Jacobs of the world -- the spiritual ones who spurn the race for power and wealth -- who must wield the power and control the wealth. "Get in there," she said to her son. "Put on your brother's clothes and enter your father's room -- we cannot let Esau get the blessings."

"But what will I do with the fat of the land? I'm no businessman."

"Thank G‑d! Imagine what our world would be like if its business were run by businessmen!"


Many years went by. Some of Jacob's descendants became scholars, mystics and men and women of the spirit. Others donned business suits, lab coats, or craftsmen's gear. At first, the latter felt awkward in their foreign clothes. But as generation followed generation, these became somewhat more comfortable with repeated wear.

So each generation made sure to tell their children the story of the Jew in the hunter's clothes. Remember, they said, this isn't who we are. This is a costume, a disguise. We're doing it only because our mother told us to.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
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RabbiAJWachs Cape Coral, FL./ USA February 2, 2011

Licence to Deceive The TORAH tells the truth! Why should a son deceive a handicapped old man going blind? This was the same son that we are informed was named Yaakov, because of his action while still in his mother's womb. When it was time for his brother's birth, did not Jacob grasp the heel *(Heb. Eikav) of his brother's foot in order that he and not Esau be the firstborn? From this we can assume that G-d who controls everything, already had realized that the future of his nation, a nation of holy people, would not come from the descendants of Esau, but rather Jacob. This would mean that certain innate characteristics of both brothers had been analyzed by Hashem even before their very birth. We can deduce that when necessary, distasteful as it may appear, there are instances when the "means justify the end results. Reply

Anonymous Green Bay, WI February 2, 2011

to Anonymous, Seattle Spiritual things need to be understood spiritually. For the sake of teaching a true point, emphasizing this one point, other facts may be left out. That doesn't mean the other facts do not exist, but this particular morsel is what we are learning, that those who are absorbed in Torah are the ones who truly understand and are the best positioned to run the world. We, as lay persons, can only absorb in morsels, therefore we are taught in morsels. Don't let facts destroy your absorbtion of the teaching. Take each teaching to heart and go on to the next. when you are boggled by carnal reasoning, you miss and often reject the truth of the teachings and soon reject everything. One step at a time and you will grow to understand. Reply

Anonymous Marysville, WA December 13, 2010

Honesty While wearing a costume we mustn't forget our true identity that flourishes, not with deceptipn, but kindness and good deeds. Reply

Anonymous Seattle, USA November 3, 2010

Different from the Jacob we see later Nu? Jacob is free from materialism and mercantilist instincts? Jacob is an entirely spiritual being, keeping to his tents with a predilection for study at the expense of all else? No physicality to him? This is not the Jacob we know from the succeeding Torah portions. This is not the Jacob who energetically uses genetic selection to build his flocks enormously, who fathers 13 children by four women, who wrestles with a divine being all night long and won't let go until he receives a blessing. What is going on? Is the author saying that Jacob lived the rest of his life in disguise, that he never really was into building his wealth or his family or his status in the world? Help! Reply