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The Innocent Eisav: How We Destroy Many a Child

The Torah Text Compels Us to Empathize with Eisav

1 hr 20 min

Class Summary:

This class was presented to women on Tuesday Parshas Toldos,  Nov. 29, 2016, at Ohr Chaim, Monsey, NY. In this class, Rabbi YY Jacobson answers the big question, how can we call Eisav a Rasha if his fate was predetermined in the womb of his mother? As it turns, out Judaism creates special space for struggle, and so should we. What G-d wants from you is not what He wants from me. Children should ever be compared to each other. 

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  • PK

    Pinchus Krieger -4 years ago

    The Innocent Eisav:The Torah Text Compels us to Empathize with Eisav

    Horav Yaakov Kaminetzky once attended a Rebbe's meeting in his son's  Rav Binyomin's yeshiva  in Hewlett Long Island , Yeshiva Toras Chaim.At the meeting he said פשט אין חומש דארף מען לערנען ווי רשי און פשט אין רשי דארף מען לערנען ווי דער מזרחי referring to Reb Eliyahu Mizrachi which was first printed after his petira in Venice 1527.

    I have taught these פרשיות for many years. I taught the Chumash according to Rashi's p'shat and Rashi's p'shat according to the Mizrachi's p'shat. I'll give you an example: In Parshas Vayeitzi chapter 30 where Lavan & Yaakov make a deal involving the dotted and spotted goats and reddish brownish lambs, the Mizrachi writes a full page explaining  Rashi's p'shat in the deal. The הואיל משה Prague 1612 asks numerous questions on the Mizrachi and gives a different p'shat in Rashi.I taught my talmidim p'shat in Chumash , as the Mizrachi explains Rashi's p'shat in Chumash.

    However I must say that after hearing the Rov's shiur to just allow yourself to read the text, I find this thought to be very beautiful - thinking outside of the box as the Rov always does.

     Thank you.


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  • P

    Pinchas -4 years ago


    What an amazing  shiur. After listening to this shiur ,one looks at Parshs Toldos and Eisev from a different angle. How beautiful!
    Now I would just like to know the source of this shiur.
    Thank you again,

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    • Anonymous -4 years ago

      Thanks very much. I compiled it from many many sources; but the main and primary point of the shiur is based on a "sicha," an address, by the Lubavitcher Rebbe of blessed memory, Shabbos Parshas Toldos 5741 (1980). Likkutei Sichos vol. 15 Parshas Toldos.

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  • Y

    yosef -6 years ago

    Avraham's Influence

    Your Shiurim on Yaakov and Esau have been really inspiring and I have enjoyed them immensely. Thank you. 
    I had an a question which, after listening to your shiurim on Yaakov and Esau I thought may be a question that either you thought of or might interest you. 
    rashi says that Avraham died early so he wouldn’t see Esau go off the derech and that is considered “seivah Tova.” Considering what Avraham did in his lifetime and the struggles of Esau and his potential, Avraham may have been a positive influence. Would Avraham really rather give up five years of his life and lose the chance to help Esau than die before he goes off the derech?

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    • Y

      YYJ -6 years ago

      One way of understanding this is that till Avraham passed on, Eisav was actually good and decent. This is based on the Zohar Toldos who maintains that Eisav actually grew up as a moral and upright young man, as a result of Avraham educating him. Also the Yalkut Shemoni suggests this same idea.

      So Avraham's passing may have been part of the cause of Eisav's decline, according to this view. (This is explained in Likkutei Sichos vol. 15 Toldos. Rashi has a different view.)

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  • Anonymous -6 years ago

    הפלא ופלא

    I cannot even begin to state how insightful this shiur is. It should be required listening for everyone who wants to be a parent or teacher, with yearly Chazoro. In addition to the main point, there were several other issues that were raised, including looking at the text of the Chumash and thinking aobut what it says, (as you know, this is the basis of the sefer I gave you, ואתה תחזה), what it means to be a Gadol as opposed to being a Tzaddik, and many other very choshuve nekudos.

    May Hashem give you the strength to go מחיל אל חיל, knowing that you speak the truth.

    Yasher koiach!

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  • S

    shaya -6 years ago

    Yaakov and Eisav at the same time

    In the past I asked you if it was ok to repeat your sermons to my students, and you encouraged it. I would like you to know that I have been listening to your Shiurim almost weekly and presenting them. This week I shares your shiur titled "How we destroy many a child". there was complete silence for the entire shiur and a few of my students came up to me saying that this was the best shiur I had ever taught, because it was so relevant to so many of them and so close to home. So Thank you on my behalf as well as on their behalf. 
    My students are fond of you and your teachings without having ever met you.
    Much continued Hatzlacha in presenting the proper approach to yiddishkeit.  
    They liked and connected to the idea that you are allowed to struggle, and it's OK if you don't fit into the box. I emphasized as you did that we cannot use the struggle as a license to go against the Torah as Esav ultimately did, however, a struggle is OK. I think they also liked the idea that we can be Yaakov at one point and Esav at another. 

    Most of them are modern orthodox, or at least from modern orthodox homes.

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  • SM

    shauli minkowitz -6 years ago

    Big fan

    As always yyj goes where no one else goes and says what people don't often want to hear. 


    All melamdim mashgichim and roshei yeshivos should take this idea to heart. 

    To add 2 thoughts in line with the shiur. 

    Maybe This is what rashi meant in the beginning of the parsha. " יעקב ועשו האמורים בפרשה "  at the outset before meforshim delve into their characters, remember the way the actual text describes them  (cross ref the Rebbes Sicha on this Rashi)


    2nd. (A boich sevara of my own)  maybe instead of how we were taught in yeshiva to vilify eisav because "הקול קול יעקב והידים ידי ישו " maybe we should read it למעליותא. Yaakovs avoda is Torah and tefilla and That's essential. But let's not forget that maybe "ידים" representing the non study based service of Hashem is actually the avoda and "פתח" as YYJ put it towards reaching Hashem. 


    Again thanks for a great shiur. 



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  • R

    rena -6 years ago

    I understand very well your message

    But I still don't understand how to interpet Rivka's question - למה זה אנכי - in pshat?

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    • D

      David -6 years ago

      Rashi explains it according to Peshat, see there.

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      • YZ

        Yehuda Zimmerman -6 years ago

        I explained that the word אנכי is a reference to the 10 Dibros. She is asking, what is the point of the mitzvos if there is no Bechoro Chofshis and everything is determined in the womb.

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  • Anonymous -6 years ago

    Searching for the Source


    i looked in Likutei Mohran for the vort from Rav Nachman on the pasuk in Devarim 33,27 "arms beneath the world"-   2 "arms" of Hashem hold up the world and a person need allow themselves to fall into them.  i could not find the Torah.  Does anyone know where it is?

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  • SO

    Sarah Ogince -7 years ago

    This is so important, and so rarely articulated. It is this message that can bring yiddishkeit into the modern world without compromise. Please write a book. Every frum Jew needs to hear this. Thank you.

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  • T

    Tzefanya -7 years ago

    But Eisav knew where to store his valuable clothes...

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  • CB

    Chaim Bochner -7 years ago

    רבי רב זושא פלעג זאגן:

    מען וועט מיך נישט שמייסן פארואס איך בין נישט משה רבינו, מען וועט מיך שמייסען פארואס איך בין נישט זושא.

    Rabbi Zisha of Anipoli used to say: I won't be held liable in the world to come why I was not Moshe Rabeinu, they will hold mr liable why I wasn't Zisha.

    I heard this from the Bobover Rebbe Shlomo zt"l that heard from mesorah.

    I quess it was relevent then too, to some degree even to such a holy Tzaddik....

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  • SC

    shmuel chein -7 years ago


    That was an awesome, life altering, eternal perspective, into myself and other people. (Maybe i should be wondering why the women get the most subtle messages in such classes).

    I had a question as to this powerful approach of the Rambam of the two individuals, The superior pious jew and the inclination warrior jew. My question is: Yaakov displayed the embrace for divergence by even entertaining the facade of Eisav to reclaim the firstborn rights; wheras Eisav displayed no propensity towards exceeding his nature andembracing the Yaakov modality, (seemingly, please correct me if im wrong, or overlookig details in the text).

    How does Yaakovs' out of the box behavior help us understand his (Yaakovs) own approach towards embraving diversity(which he seemingly welcomed, even as a mockery)!?

    Thanks Ahead,

    Shmuel C.

    Aventura Florida

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Women's Toldos 5777 Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • November 29, 2016
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  • 28 Cheshvan 5777
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Dedicated to all of our struggling children

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