Toldot - Living for tomorrow. Esau and Jacob were twin brothers. Esau spent his days hunting in the fields and his brother, Jacob, spent his time studying and learning. One day, Jacob was making a stew when his brother Esau came in from a long day of being in the field and... "Esau said to Jacob, 'Pour ... me ... some of that red stuff for I am exhausted.' Jacob said, 'Sell ... your birthright to me.' ....Esau said, '...I am going to die, so of what use to me is a birthright?' " (Genesis 25:30-32) A LIFE LESSON Why would someone sell his birthright, which was invaluable both spiritually and monetarily, for a bowl of stew? ...

Esau gladly did so and then justified it because he was one day going to pass away. Sadly this is how many of us rationalize our wrongdoings these days. Many people try and justify there decisions by lying to themselves about their decisions. Eg, breaking halacha. They will tell themselves that they have plenty of time to repent. It is also similar in every day life- Many smokers rationalize smoking by saying that, "we're all going to die of something ... I might as well enjoy myself." Or”its only one cigarette it’s not that bad for you”. If you push that faulty logic a little further, they might as well live their entire lives just as recklessly. How about only eating foods that are loaded with sugar or fat? Or maybe experiment with drugs after a long, hard day. The problem with all of this is there is a tomorrow and it's precisely how you live today that will determine this tomorrow. Pointing out someone you know who never got sick and lived to 129 years old on a diet of whiskey, steak and cigars doesn't give you the freedom to live recklessly and without limits. In fact, it's actually these stories that give you true free will to choose a correct and healthy path. Esau cared only about what he wanted now. There was no thinking about tomorrow. This kind of thinking can lead someone to do anything he feels like doing and then proudly and confidently justifies his behaviour You can only truly feel great when you sacrifice short-term pleasure by investing in your future and doing what's right. Sacrificing what's right for your immediate pleasure ultimately makes you feel lousy. And that's the great irony. We are working everyday for Olam-Ha-bah and sacrificing pleasures today to do the right thing. This is what will get us onto the right path in life, to higher spiritual level. by Alex Woolfstein 20/11/06

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