Friday, 5 November 2021
The Torah portion this week is titled Tol'dot (Genesis 25:19-28:9). In it we read the story of Jacob and Esau. These twin boys couldn't have been any more different. Genesis 25:27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a man knowledgeable in hunting, an outdoorsman, while Jacob was a mild man, remaining in tents. As I was praying over these Scriptures today, I saw something different.
This is more than just a difference in manner. Although it is clear, Esau did manly things, and Jacob was a bit of a mama's boy, there is much more to their different approaches to life. Yes, Esau was the "can-do outdoorsman," while Jacob spent his days doing what the women of his day typically did, stay at home in the tent. Isaac (their dear old dad) had a favorite, and his favorite was Esau, because he was the one who went out hunting and cooked up tasty food. Genesis 25:28a Now Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for wild game.
Both Isaac and Esau were driven by their hunger. It's interesting that Isaac loved Esau's cooking, but when Esau was hungry, he loved Jacob's cooking. Esau gladly gave up his birthright to satisfy his immediate need for food. Genesis 25:30a-32 so Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me some of this really red stuff, because I'm exhausted ... So Jacob said, "Sell your birthright to me today." Esau said, "Look, I'm about to die. Of whatever use is this to me - a birthright? Esau wanted to satisfy his earthly desire (hunger) immediately. After all, a birthright involved a future spiritual benefit, and Esau was physically hungry right then.
This story makes me want to write to you about a spiritual quality called "delayed gratification." Doing things according to God's covenant frequently involves waiting. Will we wait for the blessing? Will we sacrifice a spiritual imperative for a physical need of the moment? We're all familiar with the "ox in the ditch" metaphor. But everything isn't an "ox in the ditch."
God is always testing us. Psalm 26:2 Probe me, Adonai, and test me, refine my mind and my heart. This next verse tells us why God tests us ... Jeremiah 17:10 I Adonai search the heart, I try the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. God is discipling us through testing. We don't earn our salvation through works. By being tested and passing God's testing, we are proving our salvation. (See Jacob, chapter 2)
My point is simple. Take it to heart and we'll be done today. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Always choose the spiritual "high road" above the physical "low road," and reap a harvest of eternal blessing.
We eat food and get hungry again, but the kingdom of God is exactly opposite in many ways. Matthew 6:35 Yeshua said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty. Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,