The nursery children sing, “Yaakov learned Torah day and night; Eisav used to hunt and fight.”
The posuk tells us: “ויגדלו הנערים - And the boys grew up …” Rashi explains that when Yaakov and Eisov turned thirteen, their different directions in life became noticeable. The שפתי חכמים points out that Eisov’s true nature wasn’t recognized at an early age because those who saw his pranks attributed them to childish foolishness. Once he was an adult that it became clear that Eisov’s behavior stemmed from something deeper. Rav Sholom Ziskind, זצ“ל wonders how it might have been different had Eisav’s behavior been understood earlier.
It is important to remember that Eisov was born a בעל בחירה and could have chosen the proper path. The Malbim says that this understanding of human nature is the reason that Yitzchok wanted to give the brochos to Eisov. Rivkah understood, however, that at that point in his development it was too late.
Let us listen carefully to what our children are telling us as they use words, emotions, facial expressions, and silence, to communicate with us. We, as the mechanchim and parents, need to pay attention, see the signs, and listen to the messages. Sometimes a childish prank is only a childish prank. But there may be something more.
We have invited Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg from Ohr Eliyahu in Los Angeles to Providence to help us, as parents, learn how to empower our child to develop independence. Join us Wednesday night at 7:30 as he shares with us his thoughts on providing opportunities for our children to choose and how to encourage the good choices and support them through the bad ones so that proper behavior and Torah attitudes become internalized. Please don’t miss this opportunity.
Gut Chodesh and Gut Shabbos,
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School