Friday, November 30, 2012

My son, the Doctor

¨Vayehi li shor V'chamor¨, I have oxen and donkeys...
This was Yaakov talking.
The Medrash Rabba explains that the oxen refer to his son Yosef, and the donkeys represent his other son,Yisaschar.

Yaakov sent a message to his troubled brother,Esav, informing him of his vast wealth, in order to impress him and gain favor in his eyes.
If Yaakov's reference to his ox and donkey as a metaphor for Yosef and Yisaschar is his way of proving himself, he´s got a lot to learn about kissing up.
If Yaakov's intention is to impress Esav with his strength and power, wouldn't you think he'd send the child who's the most physically built? Or the ones who are the most outwardly impressive? Like the doctor, or the lawyer, or worse comes to worst the accountant? How 'bout Yehuda or Levy- the strong ones?

But, no. Yaakov decided to show off by sending the two sons who symbolized spiritual greatness. These two sons represent the spiritual dimensions of the 12 tribes. Yosef is famous for being a Tzadik, and Yisaschar is the epitome of Limud HaTorah.
This Medrash teaches us that when one wishes to impress the wicked by being pretentious and acting like them, speaking their language, dressing in their manner, feigning agreement with their misguided philosophies.... he is fooling only himself. Even the most corrupt individual won't be impressed by an impostor. Nobody likes a wanna-be. The opposite, actually- these actions will only alienate him.

Case in point, during the horrific period of the Holocaust, the Jews learned an invaluable lesson: You can run, but you can´t hide. No matter how perfectly a Jew tried to camouflage himself into his non Jewish culture, he never integrated and was never accepted. He was dragged out of his dream and into the nightmare of the rest of his nation.
Yaakov is not only showing us how one speaks to a less-than-good person, but he is also teaching us the secret of the immortality of the Jews. He was trying to let Esav realize that their lifestyles are vastly different, and through his way of living, by consistently following the Torah, with confidence and conviction, he hoped to allow Esav to see his honesty and straightforwardness and find favor in his eyes.
 By having self respect, one achieves the respect and admiration of others. That's all we need.

"Always remember you are unique... just like everyone else"

Have a great Shabbos.