December 1, 2016 / Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5777 • Parshat Toledot
Issue 431
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

[Isaac said to Esau,] " that I may grant you my soul's blessing before i die."

Bereishit 27:4

Isaac wanted to name Esau his successor because he recognized Esau's potential to become a fearlesss, G-dly warrior, dedicated to combating evil. Although Isaac had seen Esau give in to the very temptations he should have battled, Isaac felt that if he would bless Esau, Esau would take up the cause of goodness and righteousness. With his superior power, sophistication, and skill, Esau would then be able to accomplish G-d's purposes on earth far better than Jacob could.

Rebecca realized Isaac's error. It was true that Jacob was not that cunning, wild warrior that Esau was. But the keen perception that Jacob had developed by devoting himself to the study of the Torah could well provide him with the cunning necessary to overcome evil when confronted with it. Moreover, Jacob's devotion to the Torah gave him a much stronger drive to make the world into G-d's home than Esau could ever have.

From Rebecca's wisdom, we learn that possessing skill and power cannot on its own make us reliable leaders. We can best develop our own leadership qualities by studying the Torah devotedly, and we should consider scholars of the Torah the ones whom we look to for leadership.

--Excerpt from Kehot's Daily Wisdom