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Is there lover in the world who loves with the intensity that a hater hates? Evil exists because it is so much more powerful than good

Why Does Esau Hate Jacob?

Why Does Esau Hate Jacob?


In Genesis 33:4, the Torah tells us about a kiss: after thirty-four years in which Jacob had fled his brother's wrath, and in which Esau had never ceased plotting to kill him, Esau has a change of heart. Seeing Jacob approach, Esau runs to him, embraces him, and kisses him.

But the word vayishakeihu, "and he kissed him," has a line of dots above it, which is the Torah's way of telling us that this was not a normal kiss. What was abnormal about this kiss? The Midrash cites two interpretations. One is that the Torah is telling us that it was not a true kiss -- Esau was really trying to kill Jacob by biting his throat. The other interpretation is that Esau kissed Jacob with all his heart -- that's what was abnormal about the kiss, since "we know that it is a cardinal law of reality that Esau hates Jacob."

Either way you look at it, the bottom line is that Esau hates Jacob. No matter what Jacob does, Esau hates him. If Jacob appeases him, gives him gifts, acts towards him like the brother he is, Esau hates him even more. But why?

Why does Esau hate Jacob? But first we should ask: Why does Esau exist at all? Why is there evil in our world? Why is there hatred and darkness? What would be wrong with a world consisting only of goodness, love and light?

Evil exists because it is so much more powerful than good. Is there a lover in the world who loves with the intensity that a hater hates? Is there a light as bright as darkness is black? Has there ever been an act of kindness unleashed with the force and vigor contained in an act of cruelty?

That is why, say the Kabbalists, G‑d created evil. Darkness exists so that it should be transformed into light, resulting in a luminance infinitely greater than light itself could ever yield. Cruelty is implanted in the heart of man so that we should tap its intensity to fuel acts of kindness infinitely more potent than kindness itself could ever produce. Evil exists to be exploited by goodness.

The soul of Esau knows this -- that he exists solely to serve his younger brother. That no matter how ferociously he resists this truth, that ferociousness itself will ultimately be Jacob's.

That's why Esau hates Jacob so much: because he knows that his hate is not his own.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
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Anonymous Sixth Avenue, Malick, Barataria, Trinidad, West Indies February 4, 2015

G-d created evil to be entertained. Good alone would be boring so, too, evil. He is the Boss. Reply

Billy Balano Toronto November 30, 2014

Maybe Too Much I am so fed up with articles appearing here in this website attacking Esau. It appeared to me that the writers/people of Chabad taking cue from the Rabbis of old have not learned to forgive the guy, whereas the Torah says Esau upon meeting his brother Jacob embraced him and wept. Why are you putting a bad meaning to this? Like Esau wanting to bite Jacob’s throat? This is plain ridiculous. God created time to heal broken hearts and facilitate forgiveness. It was clear Esau had experienced this already. The Torah didn’t say otherwise. If Esau really wanted to pursue killing his brother, he could have done that after their meeting. But he did not. And Jacob with his family lived in Canaan later without any apprehension of his brother Esau. Esau's descendants could be bitter with Jacob's descendants, but that's another story. Cousins not getting along, although not good is not strange. Reply

Florence Oregon November 12, 2013

Give the guy a break! How is it that so many negative/evil traits are assigned to Esau? Words are put into his mouth, evil inclinations are described as if the commentators had actually been there or read the local Tablet. How do they know?
Just reading the Jacob/Esau segments give me the impression that Esau got a bum rap right from the start. So many interpretations and comments pro Jacob, anti Esau lead me to be believe that within your perspective people of the earth, hunters, tend to be evil. People who are quiet and gentle and listen to their mother are good. In reading the text I cannot ignore Esau's heart. Reply

Max los angeles, CA April 2, 2012

Pity for Esau Deuteronomy 23:7
“You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother."

Pretty straight forward isn't it?
It's better looking for puns and hints in Torah scripture.

1905 edition of the Jewish Encyclopedia states that "Edom is in Modern Jewry".

Therefore, Esau is also an ancestor of jews as well. Reply

David Perlman mpls, mn via December 16, 2009

esau's kiss I am more interested in he fell on his neck va-yafk. wept. that word does not appear in torah very often, and when it does, it implies intense emotion, generally extreme happiness as when joseph is reunited with his brothers.
i think esau was truly happy to see his brother again. i know he is supposed to be the evil twin, but i just can't go there. Reply

Jason Fenton Laguna Hills, CA via December 4, 2009

Jacob and Esau Revisited The simple meaning of the Torah is clear that Jacob is far from the perfect individual that we could wish and that Esau is not portrayed as the evil-incarnate figure that some conjure up to make Jacob's behavior seem less objectionable. Yes, he threatens to kill Jacob after Jacob has both stolen his birthright and deceptively received his dying father's 1st-born blessing. My view is with Rashi that his kiss is genuine because his brother is now a limping wounded and transformed Israel and not the deceitful old Jacob. And Jacob, no longer fearing Esau journeys to Succot and builds a house there for his family. Reply

Anonymous BonneyLake, WA May 17, 2009

Ok I had to ask these questions in order to be able to let this free from my mind.I am only an observer but if "darkness" ever needs a anwser I will send them this article to them by my words if need be.Thank you Reply

N. Belzer Westport, CT December 13, 2008

Light conquers darkness, and love--hatred LIght is the more powerful force. Love frees us from the shackles that bind us to revenge. The soul is built to love and give, not to hate. When given the opportunity, a soul will embrace one's brother (mankind) should he only see true contrition--at this point he is immediately healed. Esau saw his brother's heartfelt sorrow. Jacob's T'shuva was sufficient. The is the soul(s) purpose of T’shuva. No matter the transgression, no matter how great--we are made to love and forgive. This is the power and the magic of true repentance. Esau gave Jacob the greatest gift—the opportunity to experience his T'shuva. T’shuva is like a time machine—and when experienced, it allows us to erase the past and start anew. Only the light, only love can accomplish this. Darkness and hate are finite only, and are vanquished immediately. Love and light in their infinite power, on the other hand cannot be vanquished. Hate can be tempered, love cannot. Simply put--love transforms hate. Reply

Jan Sculman Oxnard, CA December 11, 2008

darkness stronger than light? something doesn't ring right with this. a tiny bit of darkness does not dispel light, while a tiny bit of light can dispel darkness and make it possible for us to see. if evil is more powerful than good, than what good does it do to try and fight the evil? we might as well give up right now. this whole thing sounds like a contradiction in terms and there is nothing 'enlightening' about it at all. After all, Hitler is gone, but we are still here. so where is his evil? and where is our good? do we honestly believe that g-d, who created everything, would have created an evil that is more powerful than good -- meaning more powerful than g-d? and could it not have been possible that Esau loved as well as hated Jacob? The kiss was his love; the betrayal his hate and resentment. both do exist in people. but to say that the evil is the more powerful is to completely disarm g-d and make His existence irrelevant. Reply

Lindsay Hirsch Malibu, CA December 10, 2008

Preservation I absolutely disagree.
The desire to procreate and to preserve life is the strongest force in the world.
this force is the Divine will of G-d.
If this were not the strongest force, mothers would not have children and fathers would not provide for them.
The aberration comes from a perversion that is not unlike cannibalism which has been shown to be a defective gene, something has gone wrong! Reply

mahasti bever hills , ca December 10, 2008

Why is it a cardinal law that Esau hates his brother? Didn't Jacob steal Esau's birthright? Should'nt he be mad? Wouldn't you. And then wasn't he the one who forgave?

Esau never did anything so that he could be marked as Evil. We just assume and interpret that he is.
The theft has always been very hard to defend.

I appreciate your response. Reply

Rachelle Baruch Mason, OH December 10, 2008

Huh? Do you really believe that evil is more powerful than good? It is not. More forceful perhaps, more potent in its "slam" effect, more capable of getting attention at the mass levels, but never, never more powerful. To believe so is to lose hope and belief in G-d. Reply

David Edward Oliver Bluffton, SC September 23, 2008

Evil is Good Evil is stronger than Good. Evil is Good. All of our so-called righteousness is simply self-centered in nature. Evil is the natural state of mankind. Without darkness there can be no light. It is inevitble that darkness will destroy this world and death will conquer life. At the end of the world and the universe will anything really matter? I could just cry because all I see is evil in the world. Esua hated Jacob so much he acted like he loved him. Hatred is so dark and lustful. Hate is so easy. Love is hard and painful. I wish to God I could be different but I know I am doomed to be evil. Reply

Dirk A. van Mulligen Leiden, ZH May 7, 2007

power of good vs. evil In my experience it is not so that evil is more powerful than good. However, here in the world of Assiah evil definitely is faster in yielding (short term) results and therefore is more able to win battles. But it is winning the war that matters. That's why it is so important to keep your trust and your faith and never ever quit. Reply

Eric S. Kingston North Hollywood, ca April 3, 2007

question Is this line in paragraph 5 supposed to have been a question? "Evil exists because it is so much more powerful than good. " This must be a typo.

Note: In the Garden of Eden the serpent doesn't overpower Eve, he has to seduce her. If evil was so much stronger it would simply have overpowered her. Reply

Anonymous December 10, 2006

WOW, i loved reading that article, i have a few questions. why does eisav's soul know the reason that he hates yaacov, and not eisav himself. also thats not a good enough reason for eisav to hate yaacov. and how does yaacov use eisav's hate? or how does bnei yisroel use eisav's hate to turn it into good? we use our own not good traits. also this would imply that eisav will be turned into good, no? will eisav be turned into good? good yuntiv! Reply

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