Jacob finally rejoined his father Isaac in Hebron. The Torah then records the death of Isaac, and then lists the descendants of Esau. After Esau’s death, his descendants could not establish a stable monarchy, but had to invite foreign kings to keep order among the clans that descended from him.
The Cosmic Drama of Free Choice
וְאֵלֶּה הַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר מָלְכוּ בְּאֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם וגו': (בראשית לו:לא)
These are the kings who reigned in Edom. Genesis 36:31

The account of these kings alludes to the creation and subsequent collapse of the spiritual world of “Chaos” (Tohu), which preceded the spiritual world of “Rectification” (Tikun). Our physical universe is derived from the world of “Rectification” but also contains residual elements from the world of “Chaos.”

The world of “Chaos” was known by this name because the energies within it were too self-centered to cooperate with each other, just as an immature child cannot reconcile his conflicting emotions. And just as a child’s childishness must be shattered by the crisis of adolescence in order for him to pass into mature adulthood, the world of “Chaos” had to shatter in order for the world of “Rectification” to be created on its ruins.

Self-centeredness is thus embedded within our world as the remnants of this shattered world. These sparks of the world of “Chaos” are necessary, for in order for there to be free choice, there must be an element of “evil,” i.e., egocentricity, available as an alternative to selflessness and goodness.

The task of Jacob and his descendants throughout history is to elevate Esau’s spiritual descendants – the fallen sparks of the world of “Chaos” – through sanctifying the material world.1