Parshas Toldos: Transmuting Esau Into Good

1) This is Part 2 of today’s Bible study thread on Parshas Toldos. The theme of Part 1 was “paid in children,” and the dual meaning this can have. In the Bible offspring are a blessing. However from ancient times, they’ve also been used for evil – bred, pimped, sacrificed. 
2) My mother tells me to try and be more positive. OK, will try.
3) Let’s look narrowly at Esau and how the evil he represents will be transmuted into good in the future. 
5) Long story short, the text is trying to convey that she was innocent of all the lousiness of the home she came from. (She couldn’t have been three and getting water etc.) She was not yet of an age to beguile and seduce. And Isaac was past the age of marrying b/c of seduction. 
6) I always think it’s important to point this kind of thing out…just because sometimes people read things incorrectly and it would be dumb to even have this discussion if Rebecca was God forbid a trafficked 3 yo. 
7) But it’s also important to point out because of a very, very core theme running through the Torah (Written and Oral), which is that the genders use their respective weapons. Men use their armies, women use their seductiveness to beguile. 
8) Well, actually women are portrayed as manipulative generally.

If you read a little bit back about the escape of Rebecca from her brother Laban, he was a sorcerer, and he had a divining stick, and he used it like a GPS tracker.

He found Rebecca, who had stolen it… 

9) …she claimed she had her period and couldn’t get up.

She was sitting on top of the divining stick and he was too embarrassed to push the matter. 

10) I guess you could say that Rebecca was the Biblical model of a spy. 

Beautiful, good, and deceitful when she had to be, in order to get the mission accomplished. 

11) Whoops! Correction. 

This encounter with the menstruation takes place between Laban and Rachel (daughter), not Laban and Rebecca (his sister). (Gen. 31:35)…

12) But you get the idea. 

The virtuous women are the source of blessing, even if they must be deceitful to be good.

The bad, seductive, manipulative women are the source of curses – women have a special kind of power here. 

13) We see this when Abraham specifically says he does not want a Canaanite woman to marry his son Isaac. Per the Abarbanel (commentary), explained here:… 

14) “Abraham did not want to take a wife for his son from among the daughters of Canaan because the Canaanites practiced adultery as well as idolatry, whereas in Aram Naharaim they sinned only by idolatry.” 
15) “On the difference between these two, the Ran in his sermons commented that while it is possible to uproot false opinions it is much more difficult to fight the addiction to carnal appetites.” 
16) All this run-up is important to understanding Esau as a force in the world. 

First read the prophecy given to Rebecca at Genesis 25:23 “Two nations are in your womb…and one kingdom will become mightier than the other kingdom, and the elder will serve the younger.” 

17) Esau of course was the elder and Jacob was the younger – Rebecca is reassured that in the end, good will subdue evil.

However, it also means (Rashi – commentator) “They will not be equal in greatness; when one rises, the other will fall.”

Good/evil can’t coexist in power. 

18) The Scripture tells us that Esau was a hunter, while Jacob loved to study. 
That doesn’t necessarily imply anything about their respective natures, for Esau was the one to whom Isaac turned for care. 

To literally care 4 your own parents is goodness. It is action, not words. 

19) Regarding Esau, we learn: “He had the greatest respect for this father, Isaac, (when he had to serve him food, etc., he dressed in his best clothes, thus fulfilling the commandment of honoring one’s father)”… 

20) Esau was fully immersed in the material, physical world. “Esau, the son of Isaac, is called “a man of the field,” (ibid. 25:27) for his interest lay only in mundane and worldly affairs; his whole desire was only for physical pleasures”… 

21) But Esau’s lust for things led him astray: “a man of the field, in order to rob people and kill them.”… 

22) Deeper. “Now…if the writing says about Esau that he was a skillful hunter, and we learn from Nimrod what hunting means, that he hunted the minds of people and misled them to rebel against the Creator, this is a flaw in the mind, meaning in faith.… 
23) “From this we know how to interpret “a man of the field.” It means that as he flawed the mind, he also flawed the heart. This is why we interpret “a man of the field” to mean self-love, meaning that his field was about robbing people and killing them.” 
24) “He was supposed to choose the good for the field, so there would be blessing there. Yet, he did the opposite, extending death and killing into that field.” 
25) So Esau’s cardinal weakness was his love of bling 
26) He would do anything to get it. 
27) As a physical man, a man who wanted things, Esau was not the most long-term thinker and he did not value spirituality. So when he was famished from the field, he sold his birthright to Jacob for…some beans. 

Gen. 25:30-33. 

28) Jacob here is deceptive for a good end, and he waits until he has the opportunity, and working together with Rebecca he pretends to be Esau and receives the valuable blessing that Esau had scorned. 
**Family calls. Have to take a break. Hope to continue later.** 
29) Back from a break, time is short. 

Esau = Rome. 

30) Rome means the voracious, sacreligious warriors who gave rise to the notion of a “Reich.” 
31) Rome exists to persecute and eliminate Jews. Until Messiah. 
32) “Naturally, the rabbis consider Jacob to be the ancestor of the Jews. 

“But instead of saying that Esau is the ancestor of Christianity, they describe him as the ancestor of Rome.”

This is critical.

33) “After Hadrian, king of Edom conquered the world, he returned to Rome and said to his officers: ‘I want you to make me a god, since I have conquered the world.'” 
34) “They said to him: ‘But you have not yet established your rule over his (God’s) city and his house.’

“He went, succeeded, destroyed the Temple, exiled Israel, and returned to Rome.” 

35) “He said to them: “I have now destroyed his house and burned his Temple and exiled his people. Make me a god.” 
36) “Tanchuma here conflates the Great Rebellion against Rome, which led to the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., with the Bar Kokhba Rebellion sixty years later, and thus makes Hadrian—not Vespasian or Titus—the destroyer of the Temple.”

Esau —> Edom —> Rome 

37) “Putting history aside, however, we can see how this midrash makes the most powerful nation in the world into one that fears, or at least respects, the God of Israel.” 
38) “Moreover, Hadrian’s subordinates in this story see the ‘real’ battle in this world as one between Rome and Judah, i.e., between Esau and Jacob.” 
39) “A midrash, found in Genesis Rabbah (mid-first millennium C.E.), also connects Emperor Hadrian with Esau (Gen. Rab. 63:7, Theodor-Albeck ed.)” 
40) “שני גוים בבטנך שני גאי גוים בבטנך זה מתגאה בעולמו [וזה מתגאה בעולמו, זה מתגאה במלכותו][6] וזה מתגאה במלכותו” (The word “goyim” means “nations” as in “nations of the world” 
41) Stay with me. 
42) Translation: “Two nations (goyim) are in your womb” – Two proud nations are in your womb, this one is proud of his world [kingdom] and that one is proud of his.” 
43) Jacob’s kingdom – spiritual. 

Esau’s kingdom – physical, material. 

44) “שני גיאי גוים בבטנך אדריינוס באומות ושלמה בישראל”

“Two prides of their nations are in your womb – Hadrian amongst the gentiles and Solomon amongst the Israelites.” 

45) “This midrash identifies the two nations in Rebekah’s womb with Solomon (10th cent. B.C.E.) and Hadrian (2nd cent. C.E.), two great rulers of Rome and Israel respectively.” 
46) This is about idol (self/ego) worship (Esau) versus God worship (Jacob) – both cannot be ascendant at the same time.

Do you see this?

What is President Trump, a builder, doing?

He is ELEVATING (correcting) Esau. 

47) @POTUS is elevating and correcting the physical to serve God and creating the conditions for world peace, again to serve God as ONE HUMANITY with all our individual paths/faiths. 
48) It’s mystical. 
49) “These two rulers were not contemporaries, of course, but each represents his respective kingdom at its most expanded, powerful moment.” 
50) “God hates Esau, says the prophet Malachi…Esau is not a code for Paul’s opponents but for the Roman Empire.” 
51) I don’t have time here to go into the various manifestations of Rome through millennia.

Rome is the Deep State. 

52) “Even those Roman officials who were beloved by the rabbis are still spoken of as descendants of Esau in rabbinic literature.”
53) Remember I, Pet Goat, II? 


54) “Antoninus and the Place of Edomites in the World to Come” 
55) What about salvation for the good Edomites? (Rome/Esau) 
56) “According to one Talmudic legend, for instance, Antoninus, probably a loose reference to Hadrian’s successor, Antoninus Pius, worries that as a descendant of Esau, he will not be saved (b. Avodah Zarah 10b, trans. Sefaria with adjustments):” 
57) “אמר ליה: אתינא לעלמא דאתי?
[Antoninus] said to [Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi]: ‘Will I enter the World-to-Come?'” 
58) “אמר ליה: אין.
[Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi] said to him: ‘Yes.'” 
59) “אמר ליה: והכתיב: לא יהיה שריד לבית עשו!

[Antoninus] said to him: But isn’t it written: “And there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau” (Obadiah 1:18)?” 

60) “בעושה מעשה עשו. 
[Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi answered]: 

[This refers to] those who behave like Esau.” 

61) Who turns Esau’s head this way and that?

His wife/wives. 

62) Genesis 36:2 “Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan” – idol worshipers who were also sexually immoral. 
63) “Follow the wives” – for the good and, God forbid, to understand the opposite. 
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.