Toldot, Siman 11 תולדות, י״א
1 א

וַיֶּחֱרַד יִצְחָק חֲרָדָה גְּדֹלָה. מַה כְּתִיב לְמַעְלָה מִן הָעִנְיָן? וַיְהִי אַךְ יָצֹא יָצָא יַעֲקֹב מֵאֵת פְּנֵי יִצְחָק. זֶה יָצָא וְזֶה נִכְנַס. הֵיאַךְ הָיָה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה? אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁנָּתוּן בָּאוֹרָה אֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה לְמִי שֶׁנָּתוּן בַּחֲשֵׁכָה, אֲבָל מִי שֶׁהוּא נָתוּן בַּחֲשֵׁכָה רוֹאֶה לְמִי שֶׁנָּתוּן בָּאוֹרָה. עֵשָׂו בָּא מִן הַשּׁוּק וְלֹא רָאָה לְיַעֲקֹב, שֶׁהָיָה לִפְנִים מִן הַבָּיִת. אֲבָל יַעֲקֹב רָאָה אוֹתוֹ מִבִּפְנִים וְנִטְמַן אֲחוֹרֵי הַדֶּלֶת. כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּכְנַס עֵשָׂו יָצָא יַעֲקֹב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְהִי אַךְ יָצֹא יָצָא יַעֲקֹב וְעֵשָׂו אָחִיו בָּא מִצֵּידוֹ.

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly (Gen. 27:33). What is written before this? Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father (ibid., v. 30). This indicates that as one withdrew, the other entered. How could this happen? A person standing in a lighted area is unable to see a person standing in a dark place, while a person standing in a dark place can see one standing in a lighted area. Thus Esau, who came from the marketplace, was unable to see Jacob, who was inside the house, but Jacob could see him as he hid behind the door. As soon as Esau entered the room, Jacob slipped out, as it is said: And Jacob was yet scarce gone out … that Esau, his brother, came in from his hunting (ibid.).

2 ב

כָּךְ שִׁעֵר אֶת הַשָּׁעוֹת שֶׁלֹּא יָבֹא עֵשָׂו וְיִטּוֹל אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת. אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּצָא עֵשָׂו לָצוּד, שָׁלַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עָלָיו שָׂטָן וְלֹא הִנִּיחוֹ לָצוּד, עַד שֶׁיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב וְיִטּוֹל אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת. וְעַל עֵשָׂו נֶאֱמַר, הַפְקֵד עָלָיו רָשָׁע וְשָׂטָן יַעֲמֹד עַל יְמִינוֹ (תהלים קט, ו).

How did Jacob know when to go in to his father so that Esau would not precede him and receive the blessing? As soon as Esau went out to hunt, the Holy One, blessed be He, sent Satan after him to keep him from catching anything until Jacob had received the blessing, as it is said concerning Esau: Set thou a wicked man over him, and let an adversary stand at his right hand (Ps. 109:6).

3 ג

כֵּיצַד? הָיָה עֵשָׂו רָץ וְצָד צְבִי וְקוֹשְׁרוֹ וּמַנִּיחוֹ וְרָץ וְתוֹפֵס אַחֵר וְקוֹשְׁרוֹ וּמַנִּיחוֹ, וְהַשָּׂטָן מַתִּירָן וּמַבְרִיחָן, וְהָיָה עֵשָׂו בָּא וְלֹא הָיָה מוֹצֵא אַחַד מֵהֶן. וְכָךְ עָשָׂה שְׁתַּיִם אוֹ שָׁלֹש פְּעָמִים. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, לֹא יַחֲרֹךְ רְמִיָּה צֵידוֹ (משלי יב, כז). וְהָיָה מְגַלְגֵּל בְּשָׁעוֹת עַד שֶׁבָּא יַעֲקֹב וְנָטַל אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, אַךְ יָצֹא יָצָא יַעֲקֹב מֵאֵת פְּנֵי יִצְחָק אָבִיו וְעֵשָׂו אָחִיו בָּא מִצֵּידוֹ. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁנִּכְנַס הָרָשָׁע, הִתְחִיל קוֹרֵא לְאָבִיו בְּזָדוֹן, יָקֻם אָבִי וְיֹאכַל מִצֵּיד בְּנוֹ. וְהַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר עָלָיו בְּבֹא רָשָׁע בָּא גַם בּוּז (משלי יח, ג). יָקֻם אָבִי, הָיָה גוֹזֵר עָלָיו. אֲבָל יַעֲקֹב לֹא אָמַר כֵּן, אֶלָּא בָּא בִּלְשׁוֹן בַּקָּשָׁה, קוּם נָא שְׁבָה וְאָכְלָה.

How did he do that? When Esau caught a deer, he would tether it and then set out to catch another deer. In the meantime Satan would release the deer that had been caught and permit it to escape. When Esau returned, he was unable to find the deer. He repeated this a second and a third time. And thus it says: A slothful man shall not catch his prey (Prov. 12:27). He was forced to roam about for hours while Jacob received the blessings. Hence, Scripture states: And Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, that Esau, his brother, came in from his hunting. When the wicked Esau entered, he called out to his father impudently: Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison (Gen. 27:31). It is of him that Scripture states: When the wicked cometh, there cometh also contempt (Prov. 18:3). The words Let my father arise sound as though he were issuing a decree. Jacob did not speak like that. He spoke gently, saying: Arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison (Gen. 27:19).

4 ד

שְׁלָשְׁתָּן לְשׁוֹן בַּקָּשָׁה, לְשׁוֹן שִׁפְלוּת וְעַנְוְתָנוּת. וְאוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע אָמַר, יָקֻם אָבִי וְיֹאכַל. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיַעֲקֹב, אַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ קוּם נָא, הֲרֵי בֶּן בִּנְךָ מֹשֶׁה יֹאמַר לִי קוּמָה ה' וְיָפוּצוּ (במדבר י, לה). אַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ שְׁבָה בֶּן בִּנְךָ יֹאמַר: שׁוּבָה ה' רִבֲבוֹת וְגוֹ' (במדבר י, לו). אֲבָל עֵשָׂו שֶׁאָמַר יָקֻם אָבִי, בּוֹ בַּלָּשׁוֹן אֲנִי מְעוֹרֵר עָלָיו מִדַּת הַדִּין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יָקוּם אֱלֹהִים יָפוּצוּ אוֹיְבָיו (תהלים סח, ב). יָקֻם אָבִי, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה הִכִּיר אֶת קוֹלוֹ וְהִתְחִיל חָרֵד. אָמַר לוֹ: מִי אַתָּה. לְפִי שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנִּכְנַס יַעֲקֹב נִכְנְסָה עִמּוֹ רֵיחַ גַּן עֵדֶן רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ, וְנִתְיַשְּׁבָה דַעְתּוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: רְאֵה רֵיחַ בְּנִי כְּרֵיחַ שָׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר בֵּרֲכוֹ ה'. הִתְחִיל לְבָרְכוֹ. אֲבָל כְּשֶׁנִּכְנַס עֵשָׂו נִפְתַּח לוֹ גֵּיהִנָּם, לְפִיכָךְ וַיֶּחֱרַד יִצְחָק חֲרָדָה גְדֹלָה. וְהָיָה תָמֵהַּ יִצְחָק בְּלִבּוֹ וְאוֹמֵר: אֲנִי רוֹאֶה גֵיהִנָּם וְעֵשָׂו מַסִּיק אוֹתוֹ.

Three words in this one verse are expressions of pleading, humility, and meekness. The wicked one, however, said merely: Let my father arise, and eat. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Jacob: Inasmuch as you said Arise, I pray thee, your descendant Moses will say to Me: Rise up, O Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered (Num. 10:35). Inasmuch as you said sit (shevah), your descendants will say: Return (shuvah), O Lord, unto the tens of thousands (ibid., v. 36). However, because Esau said Let my father arise, I will exact retribution from him through that very expression, as it is said: Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered (Ps. 68:2). Let my father arise. At that moment Isaac recognized his voice and began to tremble. Who art thou? (Gen. 27:32), he asked. When Jacob entered the room, a fragrance from the Garden of Eden accompanied him; a fragrance so pleasant that the righteous one’s mind was set at ease, as is said: See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed (ibid., v. 27). However, when Esau entered, Gehenna was revealed to him. Hence, it says: Isaac trembled very exceedingly (ibid., v. 33). Isaac was astonished and cried out: I see Gehenna and Esau is causing the flames to rise.

5 ה

הוּא הַצָּד צַיִד. לָמָּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים? אֶלָּא אָמַר יִצְחָק לְעֵשָׂו: אַתָּה הָלַכְתָּ לָצוּד וְאַתָּה נוֹצַדְתָּ. אָמַר לוֹ עֵשָׂו: מַה לְּךָ אַתָּה תָמֵהַּ. אָמַר לוֹ: וָאֹכַל מִכֹּל, מִכָּל מַה שֶּׁבָּרָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית הָיָה בְאוֹתָן תַּבְשִׁילִין. בְּטֶרֶם תָּבֹא וָאֲבָרֲכֵהוּ, בִּקֵּשׁ לִטּוֹל אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת וְלוֹמַר גַּם אָרוּר יִהְיֶה. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: מָה אַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה? לְעַצְמְךָ אַתָּה מְקַלֵּל? שֶׁאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ לוֹ: אֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר וּמְבָרֲכֶיךָ בָּרוּךְ. חָזַר וְקִיֵּם אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת וְאָמַר גַּם בָּרוּךְ יִהְיֶה.

Who, then, is he that hath trapped venison? (ibid.). Why is the word trapped repeated in the text?11The Hebrew for “hath trapped venison” reads: hatzad tzayid. The words for “trapped” and “venison” have the same root and are so similar as to warrant the question. Isaac said to Esau: “You went out to trap, and you were trapped.” “Why are you upset?” Esau asked. He replied: I have eaten of all (ibid.); that is, everything that the Holy One, blessed be He, created during the six days of creation was contained in the food I ate before you entered, and I blessed him. Isaac desired to withdraw the blessing he had conferred upon Jacob and to declare instead: “Cursed shall ye be,” but the Holy One, blessed be He, rebuked him, saying: What are you doing? You are, in fact, cursing yourself, for you said to him: Cursed be everyone that curseth thee, and blessed be everyone that blesseth thee (ibid., v. 29). He changed his mind and confirmed the blessings, saying: Yea, and he shall be blessed (ibid., v. 33).