Thursday, November 20, 2014

the one crime Eisav couldn't be forgiven for

My daughter e-mailed me from seminary (in Eretz Yisrael) that especially this week I should post something about Eretz Yisrael. I haven't thought much about the parsha yet, but I e-mailed her back a few quick ideas.  R’ Moshe Tzuriel in his Derishas Tzion points out the strange conversation between Yitzchak Avinu and G-d the gemara (Megillah 6) quotes. Yitzchak Avinu, the great melamed zechus (see Shabbos 89 – parenthetically, isn’t it ironic that the personality most associated with din musters the greatest arguments for mercy?), pleads with G-d to give Eisav a break, to which G-d replies that Eisav is a rasha. Yitzchak asks again, “But can’t anyone be melamed some zechus on him?” To which G-d replies that Eisav is the one who will destroy Eretz Yisrael. “In that case,” says Yitzchak, “There is nothing to talk about.”

We’re talking about Eisav, the guy who Chazal describe as a kofer, a murderer, guilty of arayos (Baba Basra 16). Not only that, but when Yitzchak asks Hashem to have mercy, he says [quoting a pasuk], “Yuchan rasha” – Yitzchak knew that Eisav was a rasha! Yet, despite Eisav’s sins, Yitzchak was still willing to ask for mercy on his behalf.  It’s only the revelation that Eisav would attack and destroy Eretz Yisrael that cut off the debate. This is a crime that Hashem is not willing to show any tolerance for.

The Kuzari (II:14 also quoted by R' Tzuriel) learns that the whole dispute between Ya’akov and  Eisav revolved around control of Eretz Yisrael.

Derech derush, R’ Moshe Avigdor Amiel in his Hegyonos El Ami writes that even though we have a general rule that 3 times makes a chazakah, we see from our parsha that this rule does not apply to the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael. Avraham dug wells that the Plishtim filled in; Yitchak dug wells called “Eisek” that were fought over; Yitzchak dug more wells called “Sitnah” that were fought over – 3 times failure. Yet Yitzchak didn’t give up and finally succeeded the next time around.  No matter how many setbacks there are, when it comes to yishuv ha'aretz, it’s never time to give up.

P.S. Someone was kind enough to send the following link: 


  1. Nice. I just saw Rav Schwab zt"l writes in Mayaan Hashoeva that the malachim who cried tears by the akeida were malachei rachamim and their tears infused Yitzchak with mercy to favor Esav later on.

    1. see Ksav Sofer too who talks about the tears