[Avodah] Yitzchok and Rivka Made a Mistake in How the Educated Esav

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Tue Nov 26 15:15:56 PST 2019

RSRH says that this is why Esav turned out the way he did.  When a friend recently told this to a well-known Rav in Flatbush,  the Rav began to yell at him saying that this is false.  I believe this Rav  thinks that the Avos did not make mistakes.  However,  RSRH, following the Ramban also says that Avraham made a mistake when he told Sarah to say she was his sister, and hence endangered her.

RSRH writes, "Yet, even if we were incapable of explaining the strange events in
this story; even if we were forced to conclude as the Ramban concludes —
, 'Our father Avraham inadvertently committed
a grave sin by placing his virtuous wife before a stumbling block
of iniquity because of his fear of being killed . . . His leaving the Land,
about which he had been commanded, because of the famine was another
sin he committed )' — nevertheless, none of this
would perplex us. The Torah does not seek to portray our great men
as perfectly ideal figures; it deifies no man. It says of no one: “Here you
have the ideal; in this man the Divine assumes human form!” It does
not set before us the life of any one person as the model from which
we might learn what is good and right, what we must do and what we
must refrain from doing. When the Torah wishes to put before us a
model to emulate, it does not present a man, who is born of dust.
Rather, God presents Himself as the model, saying: “Look upon Me!
Emulate Me! Walk in My ways!” We are never to say: “This must be
good and right, because so-and-so did it.” The Torah is not an “anthology
of good deeds.” It relates events not because they are necessarily
worthy of emulation, but because they took place.

Rav Hirsch's essay about the education of Yaakov and Esav may be read at

Lessons From Jacob and Esau<https://web.stevens.edu/golem/llevine/rsrh/lessons_jacob_esau_col_vii.pdf> (Collected Writings VII)

There is much wisdom in this essay about education.

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