Jacob and Eisav were two very different natures and personalities – one a larrikin and one a serious-minded achiever. Was that predestined? No. We are given absolute freedom to choose right from wrong. People may be inclined more one way than another, but mastery and practice can create whatever outcomes we choose. Notes: • In this week’s Parsha, Toldot, Rebecca is blessed by G-d with twins. But the pregnancy is a difficult one. The text says it felt like a war inside her womb. And it was clear that two very different individuals were to be born. And indeed Yaakov and Eisav were opposites in every way.
- So are individuals predestined to be born good or bad? It would seem like that from our example of Yaakov and Eisav. But our masters inform us that when a soul is sent back down, reincarnated, it undertakes an oath to strive to be a Tzaddik. And to take an oath means the potential is there.
- So where does it go wrong? The answer lies in free choice. Unless G-d gave man free choice to be good or bad, life would become meaningless. Without choice we would be programmed one way or another and become pieces of machinery, robots, acting on cue.
- Yes, we are born with inclinations, personality, a nature – but this can be bent, trained, mastered, in order to produce positive behavior.
- Esav could have been a highly successful Tzaddik, even more so than Jacob – as his father Yitrzhak noted and therefore wanted to give him the primary blessing. The potential was there. But the stone at the top of the wall falls furthest from the wall. So when he failed, he failed miserably.
- We all have potentials. We can become an Eisav or a Yaakov. As it turns out the Jewish people are the descendants of Yaakov. So live up to your potential and accept the blessing and make it work.