This week we learn that even prior to birth, Yaakov and Esav are already battling out, struggling to conquer each other’s personalities, lands and portion in the World to Come. One must wonder why there was a need to have an embryonic struggle? After all, the Medrash states that the Evil Inclination does not get involved until a person is born, so for what purpose does the Torah tell us that Yaakov and Esav were already at odds in the womb?
The answer to this question is that Rashi cites a Medrash that teaches us a very interesting analogy regarding Yaakov and Esav birth. The Medrash states that what enters first comes out last, and Yaakov was conceived first, so he exited last. Yaakov, Rashi tells us, wasn’t satisfied with being first in conception. As Esav was exiting the womb and making entry into this world, Yaakov grasped Esav’s heel, with the desire to be born first. What significance is there in the fact that Yaakov was conceived first? One would think that all that really matters for birthright and other privileges is who was born first. Yet, the Medrash is teaching us the most fundamental precept regarding the Jewish People, and this theme is echoed throughout the parashah, especially with the dual of receiving Yitzchak blessings. Yaakov is first, both in conception and in birth. Although Esav officially entered the world prior to Yaakov, by grasping Esav’s heel, Yaakov was demonstrating that the Jewish People are ultimately the ראשית, HaShem’s first pick, so to speak. Indeed, the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 1:6) states that the world was created בראשית, in the beginning, on behalf of the Jewish People, who are referred to as ראשית. It is further noteworthy that the word בראשית is an acrostic for the words יעקב תם אחר שעיר ראשון בלידה, Yaakov the perfect one, after Sair (Esav), first in birth.
We must realize that although “all men were created equal,” HaShem chose the Jewish People as His Beloved Nation, and we have been first from the beginning of time and we will be first at the End of Days.
Have a FIRST CHOICE Shabbos!
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Have a wonderful Shabbos!
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler
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