Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Toldot – Behavior and Character Traits – Rabbi Meir Kahane
The lads grew up and Esau became one who knows hunting, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents. Isaac loved Esau for game was in his mouth; but Rebecca loved Jacob. (Gen. 25:27-28)
G-d chose Abraham because of his behavior and his merits; He rejected his son Ishmael and chose Isaac, too, because of his merits; again, He rejected Esau and chose Jacob due to his behavior. So after three successive generations of tzaddikim, all the subsequent offspring of the Patriarchs could be considered spiritually fit. G-d could forge them all into a chosen, treasured, and exalted nation, who would be His emissary to the human race and a light unto all the nations, to teach them the correct ways which they should follow. This process of choice and rejection is realized to a good degree by the intervention of the Matriarchs, Sarah and Rebecca, who interpreted the behavior of Ishmael and Esau more correctly than Abraham and Isaac. The mother instinctively recognizes the son because she raises him, she educates him, the child is in her trust, and when it comes to the child, the mother is the expert. And therefore, when talking about Rebecca, the Torah emphasizes that she was the mother of Jacob and Esau – that she understood both of them thoroughly. The holy language of the Torah expands the concept expressed by the word "em" (“mother”) to the extent that the word "emunah" (“faith”) comes from the root "em". For who is more faithful and loyal to a child, who is more willing to sacrifice their very life for the child’s sake, than a mother? And this is an additional reason that Rebecca is referred to there by the term “mother”: she faithfully clung to the truth, understood that Jacob had to be the spiritual heir – and for this, she was willing even to go against Isaac, to the extent of deceiving him, and telling her son Jacob, “Let your curse be upon me, my son.” (Genesis 27:13).
The Torah's goal is to create a person who diminishes himself, who bridles his arrogance, breaking down and negating his ego, who suppresses his evil impulse and liberates himself from covetousness and haughtiness, which are the root of evil and impurity. The most direct, clear and immediate way to achieve this is by loving one's fellow man and by being kind to him. Such acts express the Torah's essence, breaking down one's ego. Hillel therefore called this “the whole Torah”, since indeed breaking down the ego is G-d's whole aim, and this is expressed in the clearest, most acute fashion by loving one's fellow man. “All the rest”, however, the other mitzvot, are the commentary on this. That is they show us how to suppress our evil impulse.
All the same, where indeed inappropriate, hating one's fellow Jew is a heinous sin. Our sages said (Arachin 16b): “Do not hate your brother in your heart” (Lev. 19:17): I might think [it would suffice] not to hit him, slap him or curse him. It therefore says, “in your heart.” The verse refers even to hatred in one's heart. It is forbidden to hate a Jew even in one's heart. Rather, one must make known one's objections and rebuke him.
-[Source: Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from "The Jewish Idea" and "Peirush haMaccabee (Shemot)" of Rav Meir Kahane, HY"D]