Avdiel Gross
Montreal 2003

In our Parasha we encounter Yaacov and Esav. Our Sages teach us that Yaacov was a Tzadik and Esav was a Rasha, so when we are finally told how Yaacov stole the blessings from his brother, we are not shocked and we don´t feel Yaacov has done an immoral thing, rather we feel that the Brachot have gone to whoever deserved them and it doesn´t matter in what way he did achieve them.

This is why we are surprised when we find the following opinion in the Midrash:
“Rabbi Channina said: Whoever says ´God is lenient and doesn´t punish´, may his stomach become loose, because God waits and at the end he´ll give you what you deserve”. Now the Midrash gives an example for this idea. We would expect the example to be a Rasha for whom God waits and at the end gets punished. But surprisingly we find a totally different example:

“One scream Esav screamed because of Yaacov. It says “when Esav heard his father´s words, he screamed”. And where did God give him revenge? In Shushan Habira, as it says: “He screamed a great and bitter scream”.

This means that because Yaacov stole the Brachot from Esav and caused him to scream, Yaacov´s descendants will also suffer at the time of Esther until Mordechai will scream, too. We find another place where Yaacov pays a price for his action:

Just like Yitzchak was cheated by expecting one son and actually blessing his brother, Yaacov will also be expecting one women (Rachel) and instead receiving her sister (Leah). The Midrash puts the following words in Leah´s mouth when she is as asked by Yaacov why she cheated him. She says: “Is there a master with no students? Didn´t your father asked for Esav and you answered him?” We see that Yaacov himself paid the price for his actions and the same thing he did happened to him.

This comes to teach us a very important message: Even if you are Yaacov and even if you are totally right, you still have to do things the right way, and if you cheat and lie, you will pay the price. The Passuk says “justice justice you shall chase”. The famous Rebbe of Kotzk says: You know why it says twice “justice”? Because also when you are chasing justice, it has to be in just ways! So although we think Yaacov was totally right and we believe that he had to steal the Brachot and that this was God´s intention, we still don´t forget the harm done to Esav on the way and the pain and suffering he had felt and we know that God will make sure that Yaacov and his sons will pay the price for that.

This could have a big influence on the argument we have now with the Arabs: We know we are right, but are we acting in justice? I well leave this as food for thought…