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Rebecca and Isaac have two children, Jacob and Esau. The blessing Isaac was going to give was a historical, world changing event, and yet Isaac wants to bless Esau, the selfish son who is completely enveloped in the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. He does not want to give this blessing, this unbelievable awakening of Light, to Jacob. Why? Let’s assume the Creator is involved here; if so, then why would He make it in such a way that Jacob has to lie to his father - even though it's a white lie, because as the Midrash explains it wasn't a complete lie - and put on the clothes of Esau?
This whole story is strange. Why does the Creator awaken it in such a way? I try to find new understandings about it, and there is one that I think is not only beautiful, but also powerful and necessary for us to understand and live in order to really be able to awaken certainty. The way the story unfolds is that Rebecca tells Jacob to prepare food and put on the clothing of Esau to trick his father Isaac into giving him the blessings. But what is Jacob feeling through this? What's his emotional state? The Midrash, in two different places, gives us an insight into the psyche, thought process, and emotions of Jacob in these moments, and it's very important that we understand it.
It says that Rebecca comes to her son, Jacob, who was the honest one, and tells him he has to do the opposite of everything that he knows about himself and the world, and put on the clothes of Esau to go trick his father and get the blessings. And Jacob argues with her, asking what happens if this all goes wrong and Isaac curses him, and he then finds himself in darkness. She tells him not to worry, and that she’ll take that darkness from him if it happens.
So, Jacob is clearly not very excited about this process, but he listens to his mother. She prepares food, and Jacob enters into the room where Isaac is. Isaac, at this point, could not see well; it says in the Midrash that one of the reasons he could not see well is because when he was bound, the angels’ tears went into his eyes. And, how does it say Jacob enters into the room of his father, Isaac, who was the most powerful, spiritual channel in that time? In the Midrash it says three words as Jacob is bringing all these things to his mother and getting prepared to enter into his father’s room, which mean not only is it not something he wants to do, but it also goes against everything he wants to do. He was forced into it. And it says he is bent over, completely broken, and that he's crying. Jacob is getting ready to receive what is probably the greatest Light revealed in this world, and how does he go into it? He's forced, he does not want to do it, he's bent over, he's completely broken, and he's crying.
When he enters into the room, his father senses something's wrong, for many reasons. He smells the Garden of Eden, but he knows that Esau is not connected to the Garden of Eden, and he hears Jacob use the names, referring to God, to the Creator, and he knows that Esau is not connected to the Light of the Creator. So, he says to his son Jacob, “I want to feel you. I want to see if you're really my son Esau, or if you’re a trickster. Come close to me.” And Jacob is crying so much that the tears are falling onto his hips. Jacob is, as we said before, even before he entered into his father's room, forced into it. It went against everything in his entire being, and he was bent over completely broken, and he was crying. But now it gets even worse; he's in the room and his father is calling him over, and he's about to be found out. He's crying so much that the tears are falling on his hips. It says his heart is as weak as wax; he's so upset and broken that he can't even move.
And Jacob is so out of his body, his heart is finished, his mind and body are broken, that the Creator sends two angels to support him and bring him close to Isaac. He can't move, he has lost total power over his body, thoughts, and emotion, and the two angels are holding him so that he doesn't fall down. This is what it says, and this is the secret of the verse in Isaiah: “Do not give up, because the Creator is there to support you.” Now the question becomes even deeper. Why is the Creator doing all this? Poor Jacob… Aren't there easier ways for him to draw all this Light? The answer is very important to understand.
The only way that Jacob could have merited the great gifts that Isaac gave him was if he was completely broken, and felt nothing of himself. No merit of himself, no thoughts of himself, no ability of himself. Just empty. Why did the Creator make the blessings have to come to Jacob in such a way? Because being able to be as empty as Jacob was in this moment is the only way for Jacob, or any of us, to awaken the great Light and great gifts of life, children, and sustenance.
We think about certainty and we think about awakening this great Light, and we have to remember - how did Jacob merit these great lessons, and how can we, at least, begin the process of getting to be able to merit them as well? Jacob is broken, bent over, and crying when he enters into the room; he's crying so much that his tears are hitting his thighs and his heart becomes like wax, and the angels have to support him. But only because Jacob was so lacking and empty was he able to draw down for himself and the world all the Light of connection, elevation, and revelation; it all came from this moment in Jacob's time. So, while maybe we're not able to feel as empty of merit as Jacob did in that time, we have to know that unless we are desiring to awaken the true endless great gifts, and are bringing ourselves to certainty on the one hand while also having this feeling of emptiness of merit to its complete degree on the other, we are not able to awaken this great Light.
It is true that on the Shabbat of Toldot, we have an unbelievable opportunity to connect to the source of life, sustenance, and children. But it is also true that if we want to have the great Light, wehave to feel devoid of merit. When we get to that place - and to the degree that we get to that place - then we receive the assistance,and the Creator comes and supports us.