16 Nov Bread as Nourishment – Toldot
Toldot- Yaakov and Esau
Bread as Nourishment
Inspired by the teachings of HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh and Rabbi Moshe Genuth
In any relationship, it is important to know what physical and spiritual nourishment is necessary
to bring someone to a closer and more elevated state of being with himself, G-d and others.
To elevate another is ‘to be a light’.
Verse 28: Yitzchok loved Eisov because he ate of his trappings, but Rivkah loved Yaakov.
Verse 29: Yaakov was simmering a pottage when Eisov came in from the field, exhausted.
Verse 30: Eisov said to Yaakov, “Please give me a swallow of this red [pottage], for I am exhausted.” He was therefore named Edom [Red].
Verse 31: Yaakov said, “As of this day, sell your birthright to me.”
Verse 32: Eisov said, “Here I am about to die, what [good] is this birthright to me.”
Verse 33: Yaakov said, “Swear to me as of this day.” He swore to him, and sold his birthright to Yaakov.
Verse 34: Yaakov then gave Eisov bread and a pottage of lentils. He [Eisov] ate and drank, got up and left. [Thus] Eisov scorned the birthright.
Embracing the opposing force –
There is a concept that at the End of Days – come the Final Redemption and Mashiach, the forces of Yaakov and Esau will become interincluded as one. This will be as a result of the tremendous power of ‘the Transformation of Esau’ (i.e. the tshuva of Esau [as he exists as a spiritual entity] ) and the ability of Yaakov to elevate the fallen sparks of Holiness of Esau (Edom). The power of the transformation of the Might of Esau will be interincluded with Yaakov; Yisroel.
Beyond the pshat of the deal for the birthright between the brothers, is the issue that Esau only asked for ‘red stuff’, but received from Yaakov the red stuff (stew), plus bread (and wine). We will focus on the issue of bread, as it is mentioned specifically in the Torah (wine is mentioned in commentary).
We say that a child cannot have knowledge (daat) until he has bread.
Bread is associated with the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) of Gan Eden.
The first chet causing Adam and Chava to be cast out from Gan Eden commentaries teach us was done with one of four fruits of the Garden. The 4 fruits the commentaries mention are grapes/wine, wheat, fig, etrog (all 4 referred to as fruits of the Tree of Knowledge). The most common Tikun on the first chet is done with bruchas on grape-wine as Kiddush and bread from wheat as Moitze, to repair and restore the world to the pristine state of Gan Eden and beyond.
Wheat represents chochma/wisdom, and the leavened bread represents ego/desire. We need both in proper measure to succeed in our mission of repairing the world (tikun olam) and bringing Mashiach. Bread represents physical and spiritual nourishment of all creation (and also represents all 10 sefirot). Nb; there are 10 malachas (types of shabbos prohibitive work) in making challah that are related to the powers of the 10 sefirot. Also, we place all 10 fingers as conduits of the 10 emenations of the sefirot on the bread for Moitze. In Torah, ’10’ represents completion.
When we look to the future of the blessings that Yaakov allegedly ‘took’ (from Esau), we can see that there is a connection culminating as a resolve at The Final Redemption. The birthrights (blessings) passed down by their father Yitzchak then becomes a mutually beneficial and unified experience of Yaakov and Esau. It is as if the birthright and the taking of the blessing from Yitzchak are ‘held in abeyance’ , incrementally rectified, until the Final Redemption when both brothers are interincluded as not just two sides of a coin, but as a single unified entity, even though throughout much of history acting as opposites. The relationship of Yaakov and Esau is a paradox one continually undergoing stages of evolution and transformation to one day be resolved.
Although it has been a long time since Esau and Yaakov were present in body, the spiritual opposing energies remain with us as the fuel to ignite the power of resolve
as a driving force for the Final Redemtion.
When Isaac gives the blessing to Esau, it includes the directive that until Esau ‘feels regret’ (of selling the birthright to Yaakov) he will be unable to be released of the yoke of his brother Yaakov. This process of feeling regret is integral to the process of tshuva for Esau (or any person) who is entrenched in the mundane world. As the Torah says, ‘the older (Esau) serves the younger ( Yaacov)’ … as a vessel to ‘store’ powerful unrectified sparks of holiness that Esau possesses.
The process of transformation begins with the sustenance of wisdom ( in this understanding, bread) which gives a person the appropriate nourishment in order to feel and deal with the regret of his action(s). Esau having received the bread from Yaakov as a ‘bonus’ to the payment of the ‘red stuff’ was the able by the way of the influence of wisdom from the bread feel regret selling his birthright. The awakened regret then marks beginning his very long and ultimately powerful process of tshuva.
From Esau comes the kingdom (force) of Edom (common today known as the Western World).
The spiritual power of ‘Esau’ is a necessary ‘opposing force’ in bringing about the Final Redemption’
The success and rectification of Israel and Her Children as one,
for the founding and building of a rectified State of Israel has required Might. Might alone will not bring about the necessary rectification of Israel and Her Children. It will be as a result of the interinclusion and the power of the tshuva of the Might- Esau with the power Loving Kindness that will bring Yaacov to then embody the emanation of Tiferet (beauty, harmony) and to (also) called ‘Yisroel’ (Yaakov’s other name as given to him by the archangel of Esau during their fight), to Yaakov as Yisroel become a rectified Yisroel, Her Land Her People
as a rectified Torah State, where He can dwell and Mashiach can come.
Accordingly, Yaakov is not just feeding Esau lentil stew and bread, but providing nourishment ultimately for ‘Yisroel’, to bring about the interinclusion of the powers of Yaakov and Esau as one…the Final Redemption.
We need both powers of Jacob and Esau… and Jacob nurtures this relationship.
It is said that ‘Esau exists in every Jew’ in the process, and waiting to be rectified. King David was an example of this rectification as he was ‘reddish’ like Esau with ‘beautiful’ eyes… he (his inner ‘Jacob and Esau’) was as a rectified as a King.
In the End of Days, The Final Redemption, Messianic times depend on the interinclusion of Jacob and Esau as one unified soul with the unification of Klol Yisroel… the Jewish People and the Land of Israel as One.. We can then see how the bread that Yaakov gave Esau affected the events of our history.
When we interact with another person either casually, in business, or with a person who may be in distress; such as addiction, physical or emotional distress, we need to know how we can nourish that person in an appropriate way, and give them the ‘bread’ they need accordingly so they may do their Tikun.
Our tachlis (purpose) of being a light unto nations and a light to one another,
is to come to Know the nurturing that is needed, that is to say;
…‘to know the ‘bread of nourishment’ that is needed to bring Tikun Olam, The Final Redemption and Mashiach Now.
Leib Getzel (Lawrence) Lax
Addictions and Counseling (Hnrs)