Esau and Jacob: A Battle for Leadership

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The Torah says that Jacob followed his mother’s advice and pretended he was his brother Esau. By that, he deceitfully received Isaac’s blessing. What is this story about?

Answer: Isaac represents the left line. Esau and Jacob stand for two lines that derive from him. Neither one of them can exist without the other.

Jacob was the one who was meant to receive the blessing, since he was chosen to define and execute the entire process of correction. He is the one who provided everything to achieve the corrected state at the end of the process.

However, Isaac gave birth to Esau because it is absolutely impossible to advance without his line. In essence, Esau’s line is the line of desire, emptiness, a need and a demand to be fulfilled. In other words, Esau signifies a sensation of emptiness, suffering, and pursuit.

That’s why Esau went to the fields (field of life), which stands for the foundation of human existence in the capacity of a relatively free subject. Without this basis, human life has no meaning whatsoever. Without the quality named Esau, one cannot transition to a state called Adam (Man), and so remains at the animate level. This explains why Esau was Isaac’s firstborn to whom he was supposed to transfer everything he had.

Conversely, for Isaac’s wife Rivkah, it was not so because the program of creation was originally inherent in Jacob, not in Esau. In essence, Jacob is not Isaac’s descendant, rather he is Abraham’s. He is Isaac’s son, but not his firstborn.

This arrangement vividly demonstrates that the program of creation is an auxiliary factor, whereas the matter of creation is the basic thing. The same applies to nature. Even though Israel (“a head for me” – לי ראש) is the head of humanity, still humanity is the basic material of the desire that has to lead to unity, to adhesion with the Creator.

Question: Does it mean that Esau (an empty desire that requires fulfillment) represents the contemporary world?

Answer: The darkest and strongest forces have to be converted into the lighter ones. The Jewish people are obligated to bring the masses to merging with the Creator. The Creator is waiting for Esau, whereas Jacob is assigned to fulfill his role.

It’s a battle for leadership, for which of them is more important. It’s about splitting the functions and identifying what type of connection with the Creator each of them bears. The combat continues until the very last state, at which time the competition between them turns into connecting and replenishing one another. Egoism cannot achieve this result on its own.

In fact, Jacob didn’t really understand why he was involved in this hassle. He was a mama’s boy; he didn’t have immense desires, nor bottomless needs as did Esau. On the other hand, Esau is huge, strong, and mighty, but at the same time he is unhappy and empty. We have to understand his unenviable role. If we look at miserable, unhappy, suffering humanity that earns billions of dollars without any clue of what to do with it, it’s quite hard to envy them. Esau stands for the general masses that have to be brought to order.

Esau demands an answer from Jacob. The foremost anti-Semites, such as Henry Ford, understood this fact and wrote about it. Nevertheless, the Jews still want to escape to America and assimilate there. They do whatever is possible not to be identified as Jews.

Question: Jacob also made slight efforts to resist his mission, but his mother forced him to pursue it. In fact, who is “the mother”? Who pushes the Jewish people to act as Jacob?

Answer: Mother is a property of Bina. It’s a quality of bestowal and love that clearly realizes that otherwise it will never be implemented on the scale of all humanity.

This particular mother has two children, both of whom were born from love called Bina. They are only divided for the purpose of showing humanity the way to unite the properties of Esau and the qualities of Jacob, and demonstrate to humanity how to correctly direct these qualities. The property called Jacob has to cover Esau’s qualities with intention. If it happens, everything will work out well.

In general, neither of the brothers can be blamed for anything. Only by acquiring genuine freedom of will can we implement it into life. I would say that currently we are going through this state. Although it’s not current per se, rather, it started in the Ari’s time, in the 16th century.

Nevertheless, we are quite tardy. Look at what’s going on in the world! We have to fulfill Jacob’s mission as soon as possible. Otherwise, Esau will press on us even stronger. The most essential thing is to realize that it is us who trigger the pressure by doing nothing.
From KabTV’s “Weekly Torah Portion” 11/14/14

 Related Material:
People That Turned Their Back On Their Intended Purpose
Israel In The Eyes Of Jacob
Concerning The Crossroads

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