"ואלה תולדת יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק"
“And these are the offspring of Yitzchak son of Avraham; Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak.” (25:19)

QUESTION: Why does the Torah repeat that Yitzchak was the son of Avraham and that Avraham was the father of Yitzchak? Moreover, at the end of Parshat Chayei Sarah it says "ואלה תלדת ישמעאל בן אברהם" — “And these are the offspring of Yishmael, Avraham’s son” (25:12) — not repeating that Avraham was the father of Yishmael. Moreover, regarding Eisav, the Torah states "ואלה תלדות עשו" — “And these are the offspring of Eisav” (36:1), not mentioning that he is the son of Yitzchak, or that Yitzchak was the father of Eisav.

ANSWER: When one met Yitzchak and complimented him for being a tzaddik and a great talmid chacham, Yitzchak would modestly, respond: “I am really insignificant. The only great thing about me is that I am the son of a great father, Avraham.”

When one praised Avraham for his stature and greatness, he would respond: “All this is insignificant. The only important thing is that I have a son such as Yitzchak.” Thus, Yitzchak would pride himself with his father Avraham, and Avraham was proud that he had a son such as Yitzchak.

Yishmael, the ancestor of the Arab world, was proud that Avraham was his father. Avraham however, was not happy that he had a son such as Yishmael. For Eisav it meant nothing that he was the son of Yitzchak. And, of course, Yitzchak took no pride in his son Eisav.

(מיוסד על זכרון ישראל - מלאכת מחשבת)


"ויעתר יצחק לה' לנכח אשתו כי עקרה היא ויעתר לו ה' ותהר רבקה אשתו"
“And Yitzchak entreated G‑d opposite his wife because she was barren, and G‑d accepted his prayers, and Rivkah his wife conceived.” (25:21)

QUESTION: Why does the pasuk at first refer to “his wife” without mentioning her name, only to conclude “Rivkah, his wife?”

ANSWER: Yitzchak’s mother Sarah was barren for many years. It was only after her name was changed from “Sarai” to “Sarah” that she was able to give birth. Had her name remained “Sarai,” she would never have been able to conceive.

Yitzchak wondered, “Maybe my wife Rivkah has the same problem as my mother Sara.” Therefore, when he prayed to Hashem, he pleaded “Please help my wife to have a child,” without mentioning her name.

In response to his prayers, Hashem made a miracle greater than the one He made for his mother. Not only did his barren wife become pregnant, but she retained her original name Rivkah.

(פרדס יוסף - דברי שלום)


"ויעתר לו ה' ותהר רבקה אשתו"
“G‑d accepted his [Yitzchak’s] prayers, and Rivkah his wife conceived.” (25:21)

QUESTION: Rashi explains that Hashem allowed Himself to be entreated by him and not by her because the prayer of a tzaddik the son of a tzaddik (Yitzchak) is superior to the prayer of a tzaddik the son of a rasha (Rivkah). Does this not contradict the Gemara (Berachot 34b) that a ba’al teshuvah is greater than a tzaddik?

ANSWER: Yitzchak and Rivkah both prayed to Hashem for a child. Rivkah’s prayer was, “Please G‑d, my husband is such a great tzaddik and the son of a tzaddik; he indeed deserves a child.” Yitzchak prayed and said, “Please G‑d, my wife grew up in the home of such wicked people as Betuel and Lavan, yet she is so righteous. She certainly deserves to be blessed with a child.”

Hashem accepted Yitzchak’s plea and argument and blessed Rivkah because she was a great ba’alat teshuvah.


"ויתרצצו הבנים בקרבה"
“And the children struggled together within her.” (25:22)

QUESTION: Rashi says that when Rivkah passed the yeshivah of Shem and Eiver, Yaakov wanted to jump out of her womb, and when she passed a place of idol worship, Eisav wanted to jump out. When a child is in his mother’s womb an angel teaches him the entire Torah (Niddah 30b). Why did Yaakov want to leave the angel and go to the yeshivah of Shem and Eiver?

ANSWER: In the “yeshivah” in his mother’s womb, his “chaver” would be Eisav. Yaakov was greatly concerned about having good friends. Therefore, he was willing to give up the opportunity of an angel teaching him Torah in order to go to a yeshivah where he would have good “chavairim” (other little Yaakovs) and not be in the company of Eisav.

(ר' בונים מפשיסחא זצ"ל)


"ויתרצצו הבנים בקרבה... ותלך לדרש את ה'... ויאמר ה' לה שני גיים בבטנך"
“And the children struggled together within her... And she went to inquire of the G‑d... And the G‑d said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb.’” (25:22-23)

QUESTION: Rashi explains: When Rivkah passed a house of Torah learning, Yaakov struggled to emerge. When she passed a place of idol worship, Eisav struggled to come out. This perplexed her, and she went to inquire about it. A message was conveyed to her through Shem that she was carrying two children.

Why did this information calm her?

ANSWER: The prophet Eliyahu held a debate with the false prophets of Ba’al during which he challenged them: “How long will you waver between two opinions. If Hashem is the G‑d, follow Him! And if it is the Ba’al, follow him” (1 Kings, 18:21). One may wonder, how Eliyahu was able to utter such an option?

Eliyahu realized that before confronting a person, it is important to know what his convictions are. As long as a person is ambivalent, it is impossible to deal with him and guide him to the right path. After having his views clarified, then one can debate and endeavor to convince him.

At the outset, Rivkah thought she was carrying one child who was confused, unable to distinguish between right and wrong, and thus, G‑d forbid, capable of running in a different direction each day. Informed that she would give birth to two children, she was relieved, because she could now hope to convince the other child to emulate his righteous brother.


"ויצא הראשון אדמוני...ויקראו שמו עשו"
“And the first one came out red...and they called him Eisav.” (25:25)

QUESTION: Why did Eisav come out red?

ANSWER: While Eisav and Yaakov were in their mother’s womb, they had a very interesting conversation. Yaakov said to Eisav, “Listen, brother, before us there are two worlds: Olam Hazeh (this mundane world)and Olam Haba (the World to Come). In Olam Hazeh there is much eating, drinking, and physical delights. In Olam Haba there are none of these things. Everything is spiritual and one enjoys G‑dliness. Tell me brother, which you prefer and I will take the other.”

Eisav, being of a mundane and gross nature, immediately decided that Olam Hazeh was for him and that Yaakov could keep Olam Haba.

When a person runs or exerts himself strenuously, he turns red. Consequently, when the time came for Rivkah to give birth, Eisav wanted his Olam Hazeh as quickly as possible, so he hurried red-faced out of his mother’s womb.

* * *

According to the Gemara (Chullin 47b), when a child is born red, a brit cannot be performed on him until the blood in his veins settle down. Consequently, when Eisav was born, he was too red to be circumcised. When he became older and returned to a normal complexion, his father wanted to circumcise him, but Eisav refused.

(שער בת רבים - שפתי כהן, ועי' ילקוט שמעוני)


"ואחרי כן יצא אחיו וידו אוחזת בעקב עשו"
“Afterwards his brother came out and his hand was holding on to the heal of Eisav.” (25:25)

QUESTION: There is a story in the Midrash Rabbah (63:9) about a general who once asked a Rabbi, “Who will be the last to hold on to the kingdom?” The Rabbi took a piece of paper and wrote on it the pasuk, "ואחרי כן יצא אחיו וידו אחזת בעקב" — “and afterwards came out his brother holding on to the heel.”

Why did he omit the word “Eisav,” which is the last word of the pasuk?

ANSWER: There is a question in halachah whether it is permissible to write a complete pasuk on a piece of paper. According to some opinions it is not permissible. Therefore, in lieu of writing the pasuk as it is written in the Torah, it is advisable to skip some words, or to write only the first letter of each word (see Gittin 60a about Queen Hillney).

The Rabbi who answered the general did the latter. Instead of writing the complete words of the pasuk, he wrote only the first letter of each word and did not include the first letter of the word “Eisav.”

He thus wrote ".ו-כ-י-א-ו-א-ב" These letters have the numerical value of 46. The first letters of the words משיח בן דוד or מלכות בית דוד also have the numerical value of 46.

Being a descendant of Eisav, the general was curious to know if his people would continue to dominate. The Rabbi, answered in the negative by hinting that Mashiach Ben David, as the continuation of Malchut Beit David, would eventually rule of the entire world.

However, being afraid of the general, he did not want to spell it out too clearly. Therefore, he wrote this pasuk, which the general could interpret to mean that Yaakov would be holding on to the heel of Eisav and that Eisav would be in command.

(פרדס יוסף-ספר בנין אריאל)


"ואחרי כן יצא אחיו וידו אחזת בעקב עשו ויקרא שמו יעקב"
“Afterwards his brother came out and his hand was holding on to the heel of Eisav; and he named him ‘Yaakov.’” (25:26)

QUESTION: Why was he called "יעקב" and not just "עקב" — “heel”?

ANSWER: When Eisav was born, he was covered with hair like an adult (Rashi). Actually, he should have been called"עשוי" (asui) which means “fully made.” So named, he would have two letters from the Holy four-lettered Name of Hashem. Should his brother have been called simply "עקב" he would not have had any letters of Hashem’s name. Therefore, Yaakov held on to the heel (end part) of Eisav’s name and grabbed the "י" for himself. Thus, he too, had a letter from Hashem’s Holy Name in his name.

(בית יעקב בשם מעיל צדקה)


"ויהי עשו איש יודע ציד איש שדה"
“And Eisav was a skilled hunter, a man of the field.” (25:27)

QUESTION: The words “yodei’a tza’yid — “a skilled hunter” — refer to the fact that with his sly tongue he fooled and captured Yitzchak’s imagination. He would approach Yitzchak and ask him questions such as "אבא היאך מעשרין את המלח" — “Father, how does one give ma’aseir (tithe) from salt?” (Rashi)

Obviously, Eisav knew that ma’aseir means setting aside 10 per cent. Thus, the same should be done with salt — ten bushels from one hundred. Eisav’s question was apparently pointless — so how did it impress Yitzchak?

ANSWER: Eisav knew very well that ma’aseir means setting aside 10 per cent, and his question was not how does one give ma’aseir from salt. He was asking, “Father, היאך?! — What is the halachah?! — מעשרין את המלח — Does one have to give ma’aseir from salt or not?” When Yitzchak heard how carefully Eisav observed the laws of ma’aseir, he thought that his son was indeed very righteous.

(אלוף בישראל)


"ויגדלו הנערים"
“And the boys grew up.” (25:27)

QUESTION: They now became 13 years of age, and Eisav began to worship idols. On this day Avraham died at the age of 175 (Rashi).

When Yaakov and Eisav were born, Yitzchak was 60 years old (25:26). Since Avraham was 100 years old when Yitzchak was born, he was 160 years old when Yaakov and Eisav were born. Avraham was supposed to live 180 years, but died five years earlier so that he would not see his grandchild Eisav worshipping idols (Rashi 25:30). If Eisav began worshipping at 13, why didn’t Avraham die when he was 173 years old?

ANSWER: When Yaakov came to Yitzchak to get the berachot, Yitzchak smelled an aroma of Gan Eden emanating from him (Rashi 27:27).

How did Yitzchak know how Gan Eden smelled? Commentaries (ריב"א) say that immediately following the Akeidah, Avraham went back home and Yitzchak went up to Gan Eden for over two years.

The concepts of time and space are relevant only in this world but not in Gan Eden. Therefore, while Avraham lived two years of “real time” in this world, the two years did not count in the age of Yitzchak. Consequently, though Yitzchak was 60 years old when Yaakov and Eisav were born, Avraham was really 162 and he died at the age of 175 when his grandson Eisav became 13 years old.

(לקוטי שיחות ח"א, ועי' ברבינו בחיי)


"ויאהב יצחק את עשו כי ציד בפיו"
“Yitzchak loved Eisav because he provided him with food.” (25:28)

QUESTION: Yitzchak was a wealthy man. Why was he dependent on Eisav for food?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Shabbat 89b) states that in the future Hashem will complain to the Patriarchs that their children (the Jewish people) have sinned. Avraham and Yaakov will respond, “Let them be annihilated for the sake of your Holy name.”

Yitzchak will come to the defense of the Jewish people and plead on their behalf. His defense will be the following: “A-mighty G‑d, though they have sinned, they deserve your love, because after all, you are their father and they are your children.”

Yitzchak will prove his case by stating the fact that he, too, had a son who was far from being a tzaddik, and yet he loved him merely because he was his son. Thus, Yitzchak loved Eisav because through him he had “food for argument” with which to defend the Jewish people and assure their survival.

(ר' מאיר מפרימישלאן זצ"ל)


"הלעיטני נא מן האדם האדם הזה"
“Please pour into me some of this red stuff.” (25:30)

QUESTION: The word “na” means “please.” Is it not strange that the ill-mannered Eisav should speak so politely? Also, since cooked lentils are not red, why does the pasuk describe them as red?

ANSWER: The word “na”can also mean “raw.” Regarding the Korban Pesach, the Torah says, "אל תאכלו ממנו נא" — “You should not eat it while it is raw” (Shemot 12:9). Eisav was a ba’al ta’avah — a glutton — he had bad table manners and a lust for food. Before lentils are fully cooked they are reddish. Eisav came home and saw that Yaakov had just put up lentils to cook. In his rough manner he said to him, “Throw this red, raw stuff down my throat.”

(עיטורי תורה)


"ויאמר יעקב מכרה כיום את בכרתך לי"
“And Yaakov said, ‘Sell me this day your birthright.’” (25:31)

QUESTION: The word “kayom” — “this day” — seems superfluous. “Sell me your birthright” would suffice.

ANSWER: Yaakov negotiated the purchase of the birthright on the day of Avraham’s passing. The world was cast into deep mourning and gloom. Statesmen and dignitaries wept openly and cried out, “Woe to the world that has lost its leader, woe to the ship that has lost its captain!” (Bava Batra 91b) People from all walks of life thronged to pay final tribute to the greatest and most beloved figure of their generation. The only one absent at the funeral was Eisav.

After the funeral Yaakov returned home to prepare the mourner’s meal. Suddenly Eisav dashed in “from the field.” Instead of weeping and bemoaning the great loss, he had gone hunting. Yaakov was shocked and ashamed. How could a grandson be so brutally insensitive?!

At that moment, Yaakov resolved to acquire the birthright. He therefore said to Eisav, “Sell me your birthright, kayom — because of what happened on this day. As a firstborn you are destined to do the service in the Beit Hamikdash. A morally callous hunter like yourself is unworthy of so lofty a spiritual identity.”

(הרב דוב ארי' ז"ל בערזאן)


"ויעקב נתן לעשו לחם ונזיד עדשים"
“Yaakov gave Eisav bread and lentil soup.” (25:34)

QUESTION: Eisav only asked for the lentil soup. Why did Yaakov give him bread, too?

ANSWER: When Eisav came from the field he was terribly hungry. It would not have been right of Yaakov to take advantage of the situation and tell Eisav that if he did not sell him the bechora (birthright), he would let him die from hunger. Yaakov knew that Eisav would claim that he was under duress at the time of the sale, and thus, it was null and void.

Wanting to make sure that Eisav would not have any regret about the sale, he first gave him enough bread to stave off his hunger. When Eisav was no longer hungry, Yaakov asked him if he still wanted the lentil soup in exchange for the birthright. Eisav was then relaxed and with his free will sold his birthright for a pot of lentil soup.

(ידי משה על מדרש רבה – פרדס יוסף)


ויעתק משם ויחפר באר אחרת ולא רבו עליה ויקרא שמו רחבות ויאמר כי עתה הרחיב ה' לנו ופרינו בארץ
“And he dug a third well and they did not fight over it; he called it ‘Rechovot,’ saying, ‘Now G‑d made ample space for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.’” (26:22)

QUESTION: What is the significance of the three wells?

ANSWER: The three wells represent the three Batei Mikdash. They are the wells of “living waters” which brought, and will bring, spiritual life to the Jewish people.

In the times of the first “well,” the Babylonians led by Nevuchadnetzar fought with the Jews, ultimately destroying the Beit Hamikdash. Afterwards, the second Beit Hamikdash was built. War was declared by Titus (Ceasar) and his armies, and eventually this Beit Hamikdash, too, was destroyed.

Now Yitzchak, after fighting over the second well, moved away. After some time, he dug a third well. This time there was peace and tranquillity.

Similarly, since the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash, we were exiled from our Holy Land — Eretz Yisrael — and a long period of time has elapsed. We are eagerly awaiting the third Beit Hamikdash, and hopefully, we will soon happily proclaim, “Now G‑d has made ample space for us and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

(חיד"א)


"ונשלחך בשלום אתה עתה ברוך ה'"
“We have sent you away in peace; You are now the blessed of G‑d.” (26:29)

QUESTION: How were they convinced that Yitzchak was blessed?

ANSWER: According to the Gemara (Berachot 64a), when parting with a friend one should say “lech leshalom” — “Go to peace.” He should not use the expression “lech beshalom” — “Go in peace” — because this could, G‑d forbid, bring him evil.

Avimelech and his people were really not interested in the welfare of Yitzchak. Not wanting to wish him well, they said to him “lech beshalom” hoping that something unpleasant would happen to him. To their amazement, not only did he avoid mishap, but on the contrary, he was blessed with tremendous success.

When Yitzchak asked them, “Why suddenly do you come to me?” they replied, “We parted with you with the wish of ‘beshalom’ hoping that you would encounter troubles. Seeing your success, we are convinced that you are blessed by G‑d, and therefore, our evil intentions did not affect you.”

(שארית מנחם)


"ותקח רבקה את בגדי עשו בנה הגדל...ותלבש את יעקב בנה הקטן"
“Rivkah took the garments of Eisav her older son and put them on Yaakov, her younger son.” (27:15)

QUESTION: Why is it necessary for the Torah to tell us that Eisav was the older and Yaakov was the younger?

ANSWER: The terms “gadol” and “katan” — “older” and “younger” — do not only refer to the age of Eisav and Yaakov, but also to Eisav’s much larger physical size compared to Yaakov.

Yaakov was reluctant to go to his father to obtain the berachot. He pleaded with his mother, “Please do not force me to go, I am afraid that I will be cursed.” His mother responded, “Your curse be upon me, my son” (27:13).

Although Rivkah made a very brave statement, she still was curious to find out for herself if she was doing the right thing. She decided that the test by which she could prove it would be the clothing. Eisav was physically much bigger than Yaakov. She was amazed when Eisav’s clothing fit Yaakov exactly. This proved that she was doing the proper thing in sending Yaakov to get the berachot.

(שפתי כהן)


"ויבא אל אביו ויאמר אבי ויאמר הנני מי אתה בני"
“And he came to his father and said, ‘My father,’ and he said, ‘Here I am; who are you, my son?’” (27:18)

QUESTION: Why did Yaakov only say one word, “avi” — “my father” — and not the complete statement which he later made, “Sit and eat from my venison that your soul may bless me” (27:19)?

ANSWER: When Yaakov came into Yitzchak’s room, he was trembling lest he be recognized. Therefore, he was afraid to invite his father to eat. Thus, upon entering he said only one word, “avi” — “my father.” When Yitzchak asked, “Who are you?” Yaakov was convinced that Yitzchak did not recognize his voice, and that it was safe for him to continue speaking. He then invited his father to eat the meal he prepared for him and to bless him.

(פון אונזער אלטען אוצר)


"וימשהו ויאמר הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו ולא הכירו כי היו ידיו כידי עשו אחיו שערת ויברכהו"
“Yitzchak felt Yaakov and said, ‘The voice is Yaakov’s voice and the hands are Eisav’s hands.’ He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy like those of Eisav his brother, so he blessed him.” (27:22-23)

QUESTION: If the voice and the hands seemed to be of two different people, then there was a strong doubt as to the person’s identity. Why then did Yitzchak give him the berachot?

ANSWER: Yitzchak told Eisav that he would like to give him the berachot but requested that he should first bring him food. Eisav was reluctant to go. He pleaded with his father to give him the berachot immediately, and he would bring him food afterwards. He told his father that Yaakov was very sly and he feared that during the time he would be away, Yaakov would sneak in and steal the berachot.

Yitzchak said to Eisav, “Indeed you are well aware that Yaakov has a refined character and speaks very politely. On the other hand, you speak roughly and without any respect. If Yaakov will try to fool me, he will imitate your voice and speak in a very rough manner. Therefore, I advise you that when you bring the food, speak very gently. This will be the sign that you are really Eisav.”

The Torah relates that Rivkah overheard the conversation between Yitzchak and Eisav and, "ורבקה אמרה אל יעקב בנה לאמר הנה שמעתי את אביך מדבר אל עשו אחיך לאמר" — “Rivkah said to Yaakov her son to say, ‘Behold I heard your father saying to your brother Eisav to say’ ” (27:6).

The word “leimor” usually means to say something to others. What did Rivkah mean when she repeated the word twice?

According to the above-mentioned explanation, it is understood: Rivkah was advising Yaakov how to get the berachot. Thus, she told him “leimor” — to speak in his regular tone of voice when he came before his father, because “I heard your father speaking to Eisav your brother leimor — to talk to him in your tone of voice.”

Yaakov came before Yitzchak and spoke with Hashem’s name on his tongue. Yitzchak thought to himself, “The first sign is true, and Eisav is following instructions. Let me make sure he really is Eisav.” He instructed him to come closer so that he could feel if his skin was hairy.

After inspecting him, Yitzchak said, “Now that I have two signs — the voice is that of Yaakov and the hands are those of Eisav — indeed he is my son Eisav and I shall bless him.”

(בית הלוי)


"בא אחיך במרמה ויקח ברכתך"
“Your brother came with wisdom and took away your blessing.” (27:35)

QUESTION: What was Yaakov’s wisdom?

ANSWER: This episode took place on Pesach, when we perform the Seder. Rivkah prepared the goats for the festive meal and the angel Michael sent along the wine for the four cups (Da’at Zekeinim MiBa’alei Hatosafot 27:25). The meal concludes with the eating of the afikomen. Afterwards, it is forbidden to eat any food.

The word “bemirmah” (במרמה) has the numerical value of 287, which is also the numerical value of the word “afikomen” (אפיקומן). Yitzchak told Eisav, “Your brother is indeed very wise. Prior to your arrival he already gave me the afikomen, and thus, I am forbidden to eat any more food tonight.”

(פרדס יוסף)


"ויאמר הכי קרא שמו יעקב ויעקבני זה פעמים"
“It is not in vain that they called him Yaakov, for he already outsmarted me twice.” (27:36)

QUESTION: 1) When Yaakov was born, he came out holding on to the heel of Eisav. The Torah says that it was for this reason that he was named Yaakov. Why did Eisav give a new reason? 2) As Eisav was pouring out his bitterness to his father Yitzchak, should he not have said, “It is not in vain that “karata” — “You called him” — instead of “kara,” which means “he called”?

ANSWER: When Yaakov was born, Hashem said to them, “You have given a name to your swine [Eisav], I will name my firstborn.” Thus, Hashem gave him the name Yaakov (Midrash Rabbah 63:8).

When Eisav arrived and found that Yaakov had outsmarted him, he said to his father, “It always puzzled me that Hashem gave him the name Yaakov. If the reason was simply that he was holding on to my heel, he should have been called ‘akev’ which means ‘a heel,’ and not ‘Yaakov.’ Now I realize that it is not in vain that He (Hashem) called him Yaakov; obviously He knew that he would outsmart me. And he already did it successfully two times.” (Yud begins many future tense verbs.)

(אלשיך)


"את בכרתי לקח והנה עתה לקח ברכתי"
“He took my birthright, and now has taken away my blessings.” (27:36)

QUESTION: Eisav is now upset for losing the berachot. Why does he mention the taking away of the bechorah?

ANSWER: When Rivkah felt unusual pains during her pregnancy, she went to seek advice in the Beit Midrash of Shem and Eiver. She was told that she was carrying two children and "ורב יעבוד צעיר" — “The elder shall serve the younger” (25:23), i.e., Yaakov will rule over Eisav. Yitzchak in his berachah said to Yaakov, "הוה גביר לאחיך וישתחוו לך בני אמך" — “Be a lord over your brothers, and your mother’s sons shall bow down to you” (27:29).

Eisav, therefore, argued, “Yaakov took my bechorah, — birthright — thus, he is now the rav — older — and I am the tza’ir — younger — so why then was he blessed that I should bow to him?”

(מלבי"ם, עץ הדעת טוב על כתובות)


"ויען יצחק אביו ויאמר אליו הנה משמני הארץ יהיה מושבך ומטל השמים מעל: ועל חרבך תחיה ואת אחיך תעבד והיה כאשר תריד ופרקת עלו מעל צוארך: וישטם עשו את יעקב על הברכה אשר ברכו אביו"
“And Yitzchak his father answered and said to him: ‘Behold, of the fat places of the earth shall be your dwelling, and of the dew of the heaven from above. And by your sword you will live, and your brother you will serve; and it shall come to pass, when you will break loose, that you will shake his yoke from off your neck.’ And Eisav hated Yaakov because of the blessing with which his father blessed him.” (27:39-41)

QUESTION: When Eisav came to Yitzchak and discovered that Yaakov preceded him, he cried bitterly: “Father, please bless me, too!” Yitzchak told him: “I am sorry, your brother took your blessing.”

1. How was it possible that Yitzchak suddenly had a blessing available for Eisav?

2. If Eisav was also blessed, why did he hate Yaakov?

3. The words “Vaya’an Yitzchak” — “and Yitzchak answered” — and “hinei” — “behold” — are superfluous. It would have been sufficient to say "ויאמר אליו משמני הארץ יהיה מושבך" — “And he said to him: ‘Of the fat places of the earth shall be your dwelling.’ ”

ANSWER: When Eisav arrived at his father’s residence, he cried bitterly and pleaded: “Please bless me, too!” Yitzchak told him that he could not do anything for him because “your brother took your blessing.” Eisav persisted: "הלא אצלת לי ברכה" — “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” (27:36)

“Vaya’an Yitzchak” — “Yitzchak answered”: — “Behold, a lord I have made him over you, and all his kin I have given to him as servants; with corn and wine I have sustained him, what can I do for you, my son?”

Eisav responded: "הברכה אחת היא לך אבי" — “Father, is this only one blessing? These are two blessings! (dominance and wealth). Why not divide this between the two of us and ברכני גם אני אבי — Bless me also with one of them?”

“Vaya’an Yitzchak” — “And Yitzchak answered”: "הנה" — “Imagine if” — “Mishmanei Ha’aretz” — “I were to give you the riches. Do you think that” — “v’et achicha ta’avod” — “you would serve your brother and permit him to dominate you?”

“Vehaya ka’asher tarid” — “And it shall come to pass when you will want to break loose” — “ufarakta ulo mei’al tza’varecha” — “you will cast off his yoke from upon your neck. Thus, these two blessings are inseparable, and there is nothing I can take from him and give you.”

Since the entire blessing went to Yaakov, and Eisav received nothing, he hated Yaakov because of the blessings his father gave him.

(שמעתי מהרב אשר ז"ל זילבערשטיין, מלאס אנדזשעלעס, קאליפארניא)


"הנה משמני הארץ יהיה מושבך"
“Behold, of the fat places of the land shall be your dwelling .” (27:39)

QUESTION: Rashi explains that this refers to “Italy of Greece” (a city in Southern Italy, especially Rome, which was mostly colonized by the Greeks during the first Temple era). Since Yitzchak told Eisav that he had given everything away to Yaakov, from where did he take this land?

ANSWER: The Gemara (Shabbat 56b) relates that when King Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh, the angel Gavriel put a stick into the ocean. Around it a sand bank gathered, which became the country of southern Italy. Originally, it belonged to the Greeks, but when the Roman’s conquered the Greeks, it became their territory. When Yitzchak blessed Yaakov with the fat of the land, this parcel of land was not included since it was not in existence at that time.

(חנוכת התורה - ועי' רשימת כ"ק אדמו"ר חי"ט)


"ויאמר עשו בלבו יקרבו ימי אבל אבי ואהרגה את יעקב אחי"
“Eisav said in his heart; ‘May the days of mourning for my father arrive then, I will kill my brother Yaakov.’” (27:41)

QUESTION: Why did Eisav want to wait till Yitzchak died?

ANSWER: Yaakov learned Torah day and night. Eisav knew very well that the merit of learning Torah would protect Yaakov and he would not be able to harm him. (See Gemara Shabbat 30b.)

When a close relative passes away, the mourner is an Onein until the burial and is forbidden to study Torah. Eisav’s calculation was that at the time of Yitzchak’s demise Yaakov would not be learning Torah, and thus lack protection, so that it would be easy to kill him then.

(שער בת רבים - כפלים לתושי')


"וישבת עמו ימים אחדים עד אשר תשוב חמת אחיך: עד שוב אף אחיך ממך ושכח את אשר עשית לו"
“And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turn away; until your brother’s anger turn away from you, and he forget that which you have done to him.” (27:44-45)

QUESTION: Why did Rivkah repeat the words “until your brother’s anger turn away from you”?

ANSWER: Yaakov hated Eisav also. He was terribly upset with him for distressing his parents with his behavior.

Rivkah advised Yaakov to flee to Lavan and stay there until Eisav’s fury would cease. Yaakov asked his mother: “How will I know that Eisav’s anger has abated?” His mother told him: “When the anger you carry will depart from you, then you can be sure that your brother Eisav has forgotten what you did to him, and no longer has animosity against you.”

King Shlomo, in his wisdom says: "כמים הפנים לפנים כן לב האדם לאדם" — “As water reflects the image of a face, so the heart of man corresponds to the heart of his fellow man” (Proverbs 27:19).

(פרדס יוסף)


"ויקרא יצחק אל יעקב ויברך אתו ויצוהו ויאמר לו לא תקח אשה מבנות כנען"
“Yitzchak summoned Yaakov and blessed him; he instructed him, and said to him, ‘Do not take a wife from the Canaanite women.’” (28:1)

QUESTION: Earlier in the parshah we learnt in detail about Yitzchak’s blessing Yaakov. Why did he now bless him again?

ANSWER: All parents wish that their son should marry a girl who comes from a nice family. Unfortunately, many endeavor to accomplish this by means of intimidation, threats, and vociferous disapproval. For instance, they will say, “If you marry this girl we will disinherit you,” or “we will not come to the wedding” or “you are embarrassing our family.” In reality, this will accomplish very little.

The proper way for parents to gain the children’s love is by showing them that they care for them and then, out of respect, they will in turn not want to do anything that may hurt their parents.

Therefore, the first thing Yitzchak did was, “he blessed him.” With this he showed him how much he cared about him and that he was concerned for his success. Once a good relationship was established, he used the opportunity to ask him a favor, that he not marry a girl from the daughters of Canaan.

From Yitzchak we can learn the best way to communicate with our children. His method is described by the popular adage; “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

(חפץ חיים)


"וא-ל ש-ד-י יברך אתך ויפרך וירבך"
“And G‑d A-mighty should bless you and make you fruitful and multiply.” (28:3)

QUESTION: Why did Yitzchak employ the Holy Name "ש-ד-י" when he blessed Yaakov to be fruitful and multiply?

ANSWER: G‑d implanted in man the potential to procreate. The first mitzvah of the Torah is “pru urevu” (פרו ורבו)— to be fruitful and multiply.” The words “pru urevu” have the numerical value of 500.

When the letters of the name "ש-ד-י" are themselves spelled out, “shin” is spelled ",ש-י-ן" “daled is spelled “ ",ד-ל-תand “yud” is spelled ".י-ו-ד" The unrevealed part of the letters, i.e. the (60) "י-ן" of the shin,” the (430) "ל-ת" of the “daled,” and the (10) "ו-ד" of the “yud” total 500. Thus, the Holy Name of "ש-ד-י" has hidden in it the potential of pru urevu (500), which is the power to bring about G‑d’s great blessing of having children. For this reason, when Hashem blessed Yaakov to multiply, He prefaced it by saying, “Ani Keil Sha-dai — I am G‑d A-mighty — be fruitful and multiply” [35:11].

(בעל הטורים)

* * *

It is customary for a girl to light a candle in honor of Shabbat. When she marries, she lights two. The reason for this may be that a married couple has a total of 500 limbs (man has 248 and woman 252 see Bechorot 45a) and the Mitzvah of pru urevu (500) becomes applicable. The word “neir (נר) — “candle” — has the numerical value of 250. Thus, the two candles total 500.

For this reason it is customary that a chatan and kallah are led to the chuppah with a candle held on each side.

(מטה משה חלק שלישי, הכנסת כלה, פ"א סי' ב)


"וילך פדנה ארם אל לבן בן בתואל הארמי אחי רבקה אם יעקב ועשו"
“And he went to Paddan-Aram to Lavan, son of Betuel the Aramean, the brother of Rivkah, the mother of Yaakov and Eisav.” (28:5)

QUESTION: Rashi comments: “I do not know what the addition of the words ‘the mother of Yaakov and Eisav’ teaches us.”

Why was it necessary to add the words “the mother of Yaakov and Eisav”?

ANSWER: To protect Yaakov from being killed by Eisav, his parents decided to send him to Lavan in Paddan-Aram, and Yitzchak advised him to “take a wife from there.”

Yitzchak and Rivkah had two sons, Eisav and Yaakov. Lavan had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. The popular opinion was that Eisav would marry Leah, and Yaakov would marry Rachel (Bava Batra 123a).

Aware of Lavan’s unscrupulous character, they feared that he would slyly tell Yaakov, “I would love to have you as my son-in-law, but it is improper for the younger to get married before the older. Therefore, I will call Eisav to come here and marry Leah, and afterwards I will give my daughter Rachel to you as a wife.” Undoubtedly, when Eisav would meet Yaakov in Lavan’s territory, he would kill him immediately.

Consequently, Yitzchak and Rivkah advised Yaakov to tell Lavan that his sister Rivkah, “the mother of Yaakov and Eisav” had sent him, and that he, Yaakov, was her older son. Hence, he could marry before Eisav and there would be no need to bring Eisav to Paddan-Aram.

(זכרון ישראל - צנצנת המן)