Toldot: Chapter 10
"And Jacob cooked a pottage..."
Synopsis

Rabbi Shimon discourses on the character of Jacob, and the fact that Esau despised his birthright. The Torah tells us that Isaac bestowed numerous blessings upon his son Jacob, all the while thinking it was Esau. Although Isaac did not know Esau's evil side, this was in order to preserve the purity of his blessing of Jacob. However, Jacob did know about Esau, and he dealt with his brother in a manner that enabled him to avoid defilement. The discussion also describes the exact manner in which Jacob embodied judgment, mercy, and subtlety.

Relevance

Despite his highly spiritual nature, Jacob was cunning enough to receive his father's blessing - for he was fully aware of the enemy he confronted in his brother Esau. The dark side of our nature is cunning and sly, endlessly deceiving us into making wrong choices. We must be as cunning and clever as our Evil Inclination. If we remain passive and complacent, our negative traits will control us. Summoning the shrewdness of Jacob through the spiritual influences of this passage, imbues us with artful and deft intellectual power to outwit the Other Side.