It doesn’t really seem credible: we all know the story. Rebeccah and Jacob don’t want Esau to get the blessings from Isaac. Rebeccah connives with Jacob in deceiving her blind and aged husband so he will get the blessings.
When we read this story in its plain and literal language, it seems shocking. Even if we try to make excuses: we can’t use either Rebeccah or Jacob as a role model for ourselves. Yet that is precisely what they are meant to be: The Sages of the Midrash taught, “The deeds of the fathers are a guide for the children.” How can we reconcile this?
The answer lies in knowing the nature and the intentions of all the protagonists of the story: Ya’acov (Jacob), Rivkah (Rebeccah), and Esau. These we get when we learn the Zohar.
The Zohar, the central book of the Kabbalah deals with intentions: our intentions, God’s intentions and those of our holy fathers and mothers. Indeed the great Rabbi Elijah of Vilna taught that one cannot attain the Torah, with full consciousness unless we apply the innermost levels of the Torah, namely the Kabbalah, to its literal meaning, the Pshat.
By learning the Kabbalah on this story of Rebeccah and Jacob we discover our fathers and mothers of integrity and truth who truly are role models for us and for all humanity.
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This teaching is drawn from the Perush HaSulam of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag on the Zohar Toledot.
The merit of this Torah learning is dedicated for the ilui nishmata of Musha Leah Bat Paltiel z”l
A father blessing his son
So many people have difficulty relating to Jacob, our father, yet he is called the “Chosen” of the Fathers. This difficulty stems from the bare reading of the Biblical recounting of the selling of the birthright, and the taking of Isaac’s blessings. it appears that Jacob is acting deceitfully— certainly, not as a holy man should act.
This question was asked of the great Sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai by his companions. He rebuked them saying:
The real truth is, Jacob never deceived anyone. He was incapable of deceiving anyone. The Scripture testifies that he was Ish Tam a man of innocence, and thus we say in Micah 7, “Give us the truth of Jacob.” Zohar Toledot
The Zohar goes on to explain what the natures and potentials of Jacob and Esau were. It transpires that in many ways they complemented each other, and if things had turned out differently, they could have worked together and made a whole. But Esau rebelled against the teaching of Abraham and Isaac, and in the end Jacob had to shoulder, not only his role but Esau’s also.
From the Zohar we discover the inner intentions of Jacob’s acts and discover how he saved the Jewish people and changed the course of mankind for the better.
We, also, have elements of both Jacob and Esau within us. This archetypal story of the blessings of Isaac is also a story of ourselves and gives us a clue of how to deal with conflicting aspects of our own characters.
From the Zohar Toledot and Rabbi Ashlag’s commentary the Sulam on the Zohar
Photo Shmulik G.