And Esav Scorned the Birthright

Scorning the birthright has deep repercussions.

HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l

Judaism HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
HaRav Avigdor Miller zts"l
INN:Toras Avigdor


25:34. And he ate and he drank and he arose and he departed, and Esav scorned the birthright

The words "and he arose and he departed" seem superfluous. But they say much. The fact that Esav sold the birthright for a pottage does not prove that Esav scorned the B’chorah, birthright, for it demonstrates merely how important food and drink were to him.

The birthright may have been valued by Esav, but a meal was more valuable.

But after he had eaten his fill and was no longer blinded by his desire to eat, he should have become remorseful and conscience-stricken at the loss of the privileges of birthright.

This however he did not do; but immediately after eating he arose quickly and departed as if he had lost nothing, and he suffered no compunction. When "he ate and he drank" and soon after "he arose and he departed," he thus demonstrated that even without any regrets, he scorned the birthright.

For Esav, it was a sin to yield the opportunity for perfection which the birthright offered, especially in those days when the first-born officiated at the altar (Zevachim 112 B). The first-born of this great house would be the leader in all forms of righteous endeavor in the service of Hashem.

The fundamental chatas, sin,  is the sin of non-achievement, and therefore Esav is blamed for surrendering the opportunity to achieve in Hashem’s service.

Hashem did not accept Esav’s excuse: "Behold I am going to die" (25:32). The prospect of inevitable death, and even the thought that Abraham had been subject to the necessity of death, was no justification for scorning the birthright.

Esav followed his eyes: 1) he became morbid and discouraged at viewing death, 2) and when he saw "the red red" pottage he yielded to his appetite; but Hashem says "You shall not look after... your eyes" (Bamidbar 15:39) in any case.

The transaction of the birthright was made when Esav was about 15 years of age. Yet he was not exonerated because of his youthfulness. In the house of the Fathers, greatness was expected even from youths.

But we must note that although this transaction was made when Esav was but a lad of 15, still, he never broke his oath to Jacob.  (From The Beginning)






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