Esav came home from the fields hungry and his brother Yaakov was preparing food. Esav asked for some food and Yaakov agreed on condition that he gives over his birthright to him. Esav readily agreed to this feeling that he did not need it. After eating, the Torah tells us that Esav “ate and drank, got up and left” and then it

adds: VAYIVEZ ESAV ET HABECHORA, “and Esav despised the birthright”.(Gen, 25,34)

The Dubnow Maggid poses a question. Why do we believe that Esav despised the birthright? Maybe we can justify his selling the birthright. After all he came home starved and perhaps he felt that unless he ate something immediately he would starve to death. He was prepared to give away anything in exchange for food. To him it was a matter of PIKU’ACH NEFESH, of saving his life.

To this the Dubnow Maggid answers, if this were really so, that he was so starved that he sold his birthright to save his life, then after he finished eating and felt better he should have said, what did I do. He should have protested. He should have argued with Yaakov that he only sold it to save himself but he wants it back.

Since he did not protest but merely got up and left then he obviously did not value it. He did, indeed, despise the birthright. Many times we may do wrong things in the spur of the moment in desperation.

However when we calm down we should rethink our actions and take steps to rectify our mistakes. Good shabbos!

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