Rivka, the True Mother by Shlomo Tanenbaum

(2004/5765) In Perek 25 Pasuk 28 of this week’s Parsha, the Torah
says, “Vayeehav Yitzchak Et Esav Ki Tzayid Bifiv ViRivka Ohevet Et
Yaakov,” “Yitzchak loved Esav because of the game in his mouth,
but Rivka loved Yaakov.” The Shlah notes a very interesting use of
tense that is used in describing the love of these two parents. By
Yitzchak, the Torah uses the past tense as Yitzchak loved Esav
because of what Esav did. Notably, Esav trapped animals and fed
the meat to his father. However, Yitzchak’s love was conditional
and dependant on the fact the Esav trapped game for him. In
addition, past tense signifies that it is a matter that does not endure.
Conversely, by Rivka, the present tense is used because Rivka
constantly loves Yaakov for who he is. Therefore, Rivka’s love was
unconditional and independent of any motive. This explanation is
also hinted to by Targum Onkelus who interprets this Pasuk as
meaning, Yitzchak loved Esav because he put game in his mouth,
but Rivka loves Yaakov.

The Maggid of Dubno explains this Pasuk along
the same lines. He says that in the non-Jewish world one is defined
by what he does. However, in the Jewish world one is defined by
who he is. Rabbi Frand extends this interpretation of the Maggid by
commenting that this Pasuk is very relevant to our lives today. Why
did Yitzchak love Esav only because of the food that Esav gave
him? Did Yitzchak not follow the commandment to love every Jew
like one’s self? Moreover, Esav was Yitzchak’s own son, why would
he love him conditionally if most parents love their children because
they their children?
Rabbi Frand explains that Esav represented non-Jewish
values as he was a mighty warrior and hunter who was strong,
handsome, and intimidating. Esav wanted people to admire not
because he was intrinsically important, but because of these
qualities. He wanted people to say to themselves, “Look at that
Esav. Look how strong he is. Look how well he hunts.” And indeed
people did admire him in this way. However, Yaakov wanted to be
admired because of the kind of person he was, an Ish Tam Yoshev
Ohalim. He wanted people to respect him because of his kindness
and hatred for dishonesty. He was defined not by his physical
attributes, but by the kind of person he represented. Similarly,
today, society defines a person by what he does. For example, if
one is a doctor, lawyer, or CEO then he is important. However, a
poor person seems unimportant. The most well known question that
every kid is asked is, what do you want to be when you grow up?
However, with Jews it is hopefully different. If one asks a Jewish
child what he wants to be, he will hopefully respond: a Baal Chesed,
Baal Tzedaka, a Talmud Chacham, or an Oveid Hashem. Of course
a Jew will get a job, but he is not defined by his occupation, but by
his actions. It is not the question of what you want to be, but of what
you want to do. Hopefully, we will not define ourselves and our
children by their occupation, but by their character and integrity,
recognizing that we are a Tzelem Elokim, an image of Hashem. Rivka Imeinu knew the proper perspective of Judaism; let us
follow in her footsteps.

Don’t Judge A Person By the text by Dov Rossman

The Ultimate Parent by Rabbi Darren Blackstein