Dear Friend,

Can we change ourselves?

The Torah offers a fascinating insight into human nature and the power G‑d gives us to make something out of ourselves.

This week, in Toldot, we read about the birth of Esau and Jacob. The twin brothers are both born with incredible potential. One turns out good; the other, not so well.

Chassidic teachings expound on the fact that Esau was endowed with a soul that was potentially loftier than Jacob’s. Thus, he had the possibility to be spiritually greater than his brother. Together with this lofty soul, he was given an equally high drive to reject doing good. (Free will, anyone?) Granted, he did not have it easy. Yet he did have the power to overcome the negative forces within him (and even managed to do just that in his youth).

We cannot control the events that occur in our lives, but how we react to them is up to us. We can throw up our hands in defeat and give up, or take what we were given and make it shine.

The day will yet come when the Esaus of the world will shine. May it be now.

Chani Benjaminson,
responder for Ask the Rabbi @