April 21, 2018 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) - Toldot (3)

In Parshah Toldot Jacob gets the birthright due Esau by demanding it in exchange for dinner. "And Esau said, 'I am at the point of death, so of what use is my birthright to me?'" (Gen. 25:32) We can question Jacob's action, but the rabbis note the ease and carelessness with which Esau accepts the deal. They note that when actually faced with death or an extreme situation, some take Esau's position that nothing really matters and simply go for whatever will immediately gratify. Others see it as a moment of truth, and decide to focus on things of importance. As Samuel Johnson famously noted, "When a man knows he is to be hanged...it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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