Why did Jacob dress up as Esau? - Toldot

Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 - 3:17 pm

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In this week’s Parasha Toldot, Isaac and Rebeca give birth to twins: Esau and Jacob. Even though they were twins, they did not look alike at all. Esau was a hunter, a thief and a murderer while Jacob was a Torah scholar, honest and righteous.  

When Isaac got to the age of 123, he decided to bless his firstborn, Esau. Rebeca, who knew her children’s characterwell, called Jacob, dressed him in Esau’s clothes and sent him to his father, so that he should get the blessings. And this exactly what happened.

This is a strange story which raises many questions, to which our Sages bring various interesting explanations [some of which are being explored in the current JLI seminar “Secrets of the Bible”].

We will mention here one of the explanations to the basic question: why did Jacob have to receive the blessings dressed as and pretending to be Esau?

If Jacob had received the blessings as himself, a righteous and honest Torah scholar, we could think that these blessings concern only his descendants who resemble him. In other words, the Jews who dress and act like Jews. Yet, there are Jews who do not resemble Jacob, who have changed their dress and their behaviour… Are these also included in the blessings?

This is the reason why Jacob received the blessings dressed us as Esau, to include in the blessings all the Jews, regardless of their current situation. Because each Jew has inside him or her a G-dly soul that is always connected to G-d. Even if a Jew looks more like Esau than Jacob, he is still part of the Jewish people.

When we consider this, we fill up with gratitude and love towards G-d, Who wants us close to Him and blesses all of us.

Let us do an action to reciprocate this love. A prayer, some Torah study, providing help to someone we were not planning to. Thus, we will hasten the coming of Mashiach, which all we await.

Shabbat Shalom,


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