Thursday, December 01, 2016

which was the cause and which was the effect

The Netziv in last week's parsha says something very interesting.  The relationship between Rivka and Yitzchak was quite different than the relationship between Avraham and Sarah or even that of Ya'akov and his wives.  Sarah had no qualms about telling Avraham how she felt about Yishmael and demanding that he kick him out of the house.  Rivka doesn't communicate with Yitzchak.  She knows Ya'akov deserves the brachos, but instead of telling Yitzchak directly, she arranges this whole surreptitious way of making sure he gets them.  The Netziv says all this, but I think many a careful reader could figure it out too.  What makes the Netziv fascinating is that the average careful reader would conclude that it's the lack of communication between Rivka and Yitzchak which is the cause of Ya'akov having to steal the brachos.  The Netziv (24:65) says that it's the exact opposite.  G-d wanted Ya'akov to get the brachos by "stealing" them from Eisav (see Harchev Davar to 27:1 as to why).  To allow for the brachos to be gotten by "theft," Hashem caused there to be a different type of relationship between Yitzchak and Rivka.  You have to know which is the horse and which is the wagon, what's the cause and what's the effect.

This distance between Yitzchak and Rivka is not something which develops over time, but rather, writes the Netziv, is set from the moment the two meet.  When  Rivka first sees Yitzchak, she reacts with fear and trepidation, falling from her camel, while Yitzchak is completely focused on his tefilah, blind to Rivka's presence.  That meeting sets the tone for the rest of their marriage. All this so that 83 years later Ya'akov would be put in a position to use trickery to get the bracha meant for Eisav.  Can you imagine Hashem causing something to happen on your first date with your wife that will set the tone of your relationship in such a way so that 83 years later some other event will work out in your lives or your children's lives? 

Chazal darshen "Va'yar Elokim es kol asher asah v'hinei tov me'od" that "tov ME'OD" is the yetzer ha'ra, the malacha ha'maves.  In other words, it's Eisav.   "Va'yeilech haloch v'gadeil ad ki gadal ME'OD." (26:13)  Yitzchak Avinu was as great as that power of "me'od."  The yetzer ha'ra turns good to bad; Yitzchak thought he could inspire and turn bad to good.  Isn't doing that even greater than being good to begin with?  "B'chol levacha" = with both sides of your heart, so that even the Eisav side cooperates.  When Eisav entered the room as Ya'akov was departing after taking the brachos, and Yitzchak finally realized the truth of who Eisav was, it's not just "va'yecherad charadah gedolah," but it's "va'yecherad charadah gedolah ad ME'OD."  (see here)  His dreams of overcoming "tov ME'OD" = the malach ha'maves, the yetzer ha'ra, the evil of Eisav, had been dashed.  (See Sefas Emes 5631)

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