After a separation of twenty years, Eisov meets Yaakov, his wives, and his children. When they meet, Eisov asks, “Who are these to you?”
What really is his question? After all, it is perfectly reasonable that after twenty years, a person might marry and have children.
Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer explains that their dialogue centered on the selling of the birthright. Eisov was asking, “What are you doing with all these (children)? We made a division of who would get עולם הבא and who would get עולם הזה. Children are a function of this world, so what are you doing with these children?” Yaakov responded that the children Hashem had graciously provided were included in the brocha of עולם הבא.
Rav Yaakov Galinsky זצ‘‘ל explains that Eisov viewed children as a function of this world; their purpose, for him, was to make life easier. Yaakov, on the other hand, understood that the purpose of children is not for enjoying this world. The purpose of having children is to enable neshomos to make their way to עולם הבא. That is what children are all about – following Hashem’s desire to take a neshomoh, improve it, and see that it gets to עולם הבא .
The brochoh she gave Klal Yisroel that Hashem should “add to you like yourselves a thousand times over, and bless you” is explained by the Chasam Sofer as the following: If you want to merit Hashem’s brochoh, you have to appreciate children. When I told you that you would have children a thousand times over, it was a test to see your reaction. You reacted the way – not “that’s enough already” – rather you understood that every child is a brochoh, the greatest gift I can give you.
Of course, we all appreciate our children and we, at PHDS/NEAT, would also love to have one thousand. However, to continue to receive Hashem’s brochoh we have to remember to continuously focus on the fact that our children are a brochoh – our greatest brochoh. And let’s remember to let our children know we feel that way.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School