When I was listening to this week’s parsha in shul I was wondering how it could be that such a great man like Yitzchok made a mistake about Eisav?


How can it be possible that Yitzchok, our father, made a mistake with Eisav, with trying to bless Eisav?  

And the answer is there is no person in the world that cannot make a mistake.  Except the Pope.  

Everybody in the world can make a mistake. Moshe Rabbeinu made a mistake.  It says openly in the Torah.  When Moshe was angry about why they burned that offering and Aharon said, “Could I eat it today?  I’m an oinen; I can’t eat it.”  So וישמע משה – Moshe heard and he was satisfied.  And the Gemara says הודה ולא בוש – he admitted and he wasn’t ashamed to admit that he made a mistake.

It’s only when Moshe is speaking in the name of Hashem, then he can’t make a mistake.  Otherwise every human being can make a mistake.  Don’t get any idea into your head that people can’t make a mistake.  

When people tell you they are chassidim of a certain rebbeh and they say, “My rebbeh cannot make a mistake,” then tell them “Your rebbeh is greater than Moshe Rabbeinu.” There’s no rebbeh in the world that cannot make a mistake.

And of course, we can understand the mistake that Yitzchok made. It wasn’t foolish at all. Don’t think he was deceived by little things. There were many signs that Eisav was going to be the leader. It says vayetzei harishon admoni, he was the first one to come out and he was ruddy.  

Yitzchok thought al pi shnayim eidim yakum davar, I have two witnesses, two testimonies that Eisav is the superior one.  First of all, Hakodosh Boruch Hu made him come out first. And the second testimony is admoni, he is ruddy.  That’s gevurah.  It’s a sign of vigor, of leadership.

“And I don’t believe in accidents,” said Yitzchok. “Especially in our family where maaseh avos siman lebanim, every little thing that happens is a prophecy for the future so if a son is born first, that’s the ratzon Hashem.  Hakodosh Boruch Hu chose him to be the leader.”

Yitzchok the son of Avraham, he was a ma’amin ben ma’amin, and he understoodthat Hakodosh Boruch Hu when He gives portents, when He gives signs, they are true omens for the future.  And so Yitzchok said “Eisav is the one. He’s the leader.” And subsequently, whenever Yitzchok saw or heard anything that Eisav had done, he interpreted it lekaf zechus.  You can always explain things in two ways.

So if Eisav let’s say for example was reported to have hit somebody; if neighbors came and said that they saw that Eisav hit somebody so Yitzchok said “It’s because he has the power of gevurah in him to stand up against what’s wrong. He’s a leader who doesn’t suffer injustice.  That’s machaah. He takes up for what’s right. He’s only exercising his innate characteristics. He’s chosen for gevurah, for leadership.” And whatever he heard subsequently about Eisav, he interpreted it in the light of what he knew was Eisav’s role.  He’s going to be the leader.

But it was a mistake, that’s all.

TAPE # 417 (July 1982)

By |2023-06-28T14:06:46+08:00November 27, 2022|Q & A|0 Comments

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