Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"The Masses Preferred Esav"

(Picture courtesy of grinningplanet.com)

Excerpt from Iturei Torah:

וַיִּקְרְאוּ שְׁמוֹ, עֵשָׂו - They called his name Esav.

The Degel Machaneh Ephraim had almost no chassidim, even though he was a truly righteous and holy individual and a descendant of the Baal Shem Tov. Once he was a guest in Lvov of Rabbi Leib di-Memeles, who was known for his hospitality to strangers. At the same time, a non-religious author was also a guest in the house. This author attempted to insult the Degel, and said to him, "You act like a rebbe, but you don't have any chassidim. I have more admirers than you have."

The Degel answered him, "We are told regarding Esav, 'They called his name Esav,' using the plural form 'they'. On this, Rashi comments, 'All called him that.' On the other hand, in regards to Yaakov, it states, 'and he called his name Yaakov.' On this, Rashi comments, 'Hashem called him Yaakov,' because only Hashem recognized and appreciated Yaakov, while the masses preferred Esav."


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