Rivka the blessed presence
Without Rebecca the inheritance of Abraham would never have reached Jacob and thus the 12 patriarchs. Isaac has put himself in a sort of quarantine for a while so his wife had to take over the family business. She did not act as a jezebel because she did not do it of her will, but because she was forced to do it. The man on the side of which she was living and whom she had to support in his moments of weakness, lost his sight and was momentarily suspended from the function he had received from the Almighty. Isaac became almost blind. It is very rare that such a thing happens to a righteous man. The loss of sight is in most cases the consequence of sin, usually idolatry. Indeed, Isaac did not love the same son that the Lord did. He admired Esau for his “virility”. Esau, on the other hand, was hated by the Eternal as we read in the haftara of the week (Malachi 1: 2). He looked at his biggest son with the eye of the world and that is what caused his blindness. Here is the point where we can the best see what the blessing of Rebecca really represents. She goes so far as to commit a sin considered very serious at the time. She betrayed her husband. This husband who for a time, was not in the place that has been assigned to him. However, she did not quite betray her husband, she rather deceived this thing inside of Isaac, that caused his blindness. In fact, it was precisely by committing this “offense” that she showed the greatest loyalty to her husband. Rebecca did not lose her sight. In spirit, she was quite lucid and by the grace of the Lord, she was granted to carry out the project of the Almighty that had been momentarily rejected by Isaac. She acted in all good faith and legitimacy. It was Rebecca and Jacob who had been deceived by the foreign spirit that provoked Isaac’s deviance.
Jacob the cheater
As in the case of Rebecca, Jacob has never been a crook. His name, unlike all misconceptions and other bad translations, does not mean cheater, usurper or crook, but “heel grabber” (some sources tell us that it means “the Lord favors”, or cunning). The following statement: “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob ? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me” was made by the same usurper spirit inhabiting Esau as the one who once pushed Eve into sin. It is not because something is written in the Bible that it is right and holy. Let us not forget that the words of the enemy are quoted the same way as the Word of the Most High.
Jacob was born grasping his brother’s heel. By this act, he certainly wanted to point something out. They will have to talk about certain things later.
The two children collided in thier mother’s womb. Why could they be bickering about at such an early age? Who was fighting the other and why?
The Lord defined a well-established order, an order from which He may deviate in some cases and according to His Will. The birthright is one of the pillars of the Jewish spirit. In some cases, however, it happens that the Eternal wants to show his power by bequeathing the right of the first born to a younger member of the family, to the weak ones, to those who are not even taken into account by their parents. Such was the case of King David and many others. We can not know if this was the case here. However, it is very likely that it was against this original law of birthright that Esau rebelled already in the womb of his mother. He seems to have taken advantage of his strenght to overtake the exit of his brother. It was at this point that Jacob made it clear to the outside world that a treachery has occured against him: “we’ll talk about it later!” It is this discussion which has fulfilled when Esau sold back his birthright for a dish of lentils. Esau tried to steal this right by using physical force when they were babies, now it is by taking advantage of this same carnal instinct governing his brother that Jacob is taking back what was his right originally. However, this is not that simple. How could one believe the word of a man like Esau. He naturally had no intention of keeping his promise, as we will see later. For this reason, Rebecca had to come in reinforcement. Esau may plot as he wish, only their father is allowed to pass on the birthright and the blessing that goes with it.
The Almighty allowed Esau to be the first to be born. Indeed, He warns Rebekah when she was sadden by the behavior of her unborn sons: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger. “(Gen 25:23). Perhaps Isaac’s inclination to the flesh was already present in him and that was the reason why the Lord allowed the other son to be born first in order to put the family to the test. A similar situation had already occurred in the case of Isaac precisely, when consequence of the “good ideas” and the lack of faith and patience of his parents, an older brother was born to him who is still the source of huge troubles untill this day. Ishmael was for Isaac what Esau is now for Jacob.
The character of Jacob is nevertheless not as pure and perfect as I describe it above. Indeed, he too has shown many times the same human weaknesses that have manifested in his father’s and grandfather’s life. His tendency for Truth makes him a fighter like many of his ancestors. The young Jacob often looks more like an avenger than someone in perfect submission to the Almighty. He will go so far as to serve a man for 14 years in order to get a woman like a true medieval knight. He is often acting on a whim, knowing that the Lord of Hosts is with him and that nothing can happen to him. We read in Hosea, “The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with Elohim.” (Hosea 12: 2-3). It seems that Jacob did not have to report anything when he was born. The Lord would certainly have asserted His Will in due time, it would not have been necessary for him to intervene as a human. He should have let things go their way so that the situation would have been restored according to the original will of the Lord. In this act, we can see the same basic mistake many biblical characters are falling into. Knowing the will of the Lord concerning their own lives they just think to have the right to intervene and accelerate the fulfillment of their promises.
Even Jewish teachings often describe Jacob as a cheater. The spirit of history’s first antisemite, Esau, has even been deceiving and contaminating Jacob’s descendants themselves. It’s a huge mistake. We can describe Jacob as stubborn or reckless, but the saying that he was a liar of a swingler is pure distortion of reality and a false accusation. It is therefore time to rehabilitate not only the person of Rebecca, but especially Jacob himself. So many would perhaps realize what Jews really are. The Jewish people is not a tribe of parasites cunning like foxes in order to exploit the peoples, but a nation that have received a Legacy from the Lord that many other nations would like to steal from them. And as if that was not enough, they are accused of committing the crime of which they are the victims. I do not wish to open a separate chapter in order to demonstrate how this unhealthy process is acting today when, for example, the most humanist army that has ever existed is falsely accused of committing serious crimes against human rights and “innocent victims”. This revolting lie re-emerges periodically through history in different forms according to actual mood.
The most beautiful proof of the Lord’s will to transmit the birthright to Jacob is in the text of the blessing that he is given through his father Isaac: “Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. May Elohim give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.” (Genesis 27: 27-28). When Isaac’s mouth opens to speak these words, he is not conscious about what he is saying. He serves only as an intermediary, as a spokesperson. It is indeed the Spirit of the Eternal that expresses itself. How could Isaac have said these words to a son who has never had anything to do with agriculture, fields, harvest or flocks. Esau was a hunter and if Isaac had blessed him according to his human vision, he would rather have spoken of hunting, game and precision in archery. Esau had nothing to do with the morning dew, the fat of the earth, the wheat of the harvest, and wine!
zeev shlomo 27.10.2013