Esav

Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan

Esav, the wicked son of Yitzchak, was nevertheless renowned for his respect for his parents. Esav wore his finest clothes when attending his father in order to show a heightened level of respect. The Midrash says that Esav gave his father more than one hundred times the respect the great Rav Shimon ben Gamliel of the Talmud gave his own father. He was on call to do whatever his father desired. Yaakov impersonates Esav in order to receive the blessing of the firstborn. He has the food that Esav was commanded to bring and he is even wearing Esav's clothing so that his father will think he is Esav upon feeling Yaakov. But one thing is missing - Yitzchak comments that "The voice is Yaakov's voice". Rashi explains that Yaakov spoke gently and would say "Please rise, father". But Esav would speak with arrogance and say "Get up, father". Given Esav's extreme respect for his father, how are we to understand such a harsh and disrespectful manner of speech towards his father? The commentaries explain that if one becomes accustomed to coarse language, it may become so much a part of him that he cannot speak politely, even if he tries. Esav could change his clothes out of respect for his father, but having picked up the coarse language of his peers, he was unable to control the way he talked. In our everyday lives we often associate with people whose speech is less than delicate. Expletives and vulgar terms pepper their vocabulary. We should be conscious of this issue and make a concerted effort not to pick up the speech of the environment that we live in lest we loose control of our language altogether.

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