Yaakov Did Not Spill The Beans

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 11/17/20

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The Medrash Tanchuma in Toldos 8 says that when Eisav came home from the fields he would ask questions of his father to make him seem steeped in learning. An example of the type of questions he asked is the following: what is the halacha regarding taking maaser from salt? Yitzchok would wonder at the baal medakdek his son had become. When Yitzchok would ask him, “Where were you today?” Eisav would respond, “In Bais Hatalmud.” He would start talking in halacha and thereby fool his father. Everyone was aware that when Eisav and Yaakov became adults Eisav went to the house of Avoda Zora and Yaakov went to the Bais Medrash. The question is why didn’t Yaakov tell his father the real story? It would have been l’toeles so Yitzchok could give Eisav mussar. The Rambam in Hilchos Teshuva 4:1 says that one of the things that hold a person back from doing teshuva is if one sees his son go off the derech and does not give him mussar.  

The first tirutz to explain this is that Yaakov was scared to tell Yitzchok about Eisav’s shortcomings. Not because he was scared that Eisav would kill him, but on the contrary, he was worried that since Yitzchok held Eisav in such high esteem, he would die from such agmas nefesh if he found out the truth. We find in the Gemara in Berachos 7b that Reb Yochanan said in the name of Reb Shimon ben Yochai that it is tougher for a person to have a child go off the derech than the war of Gog Umagog. The Pele Yoetz in Erech Zivug says that it is tougher for a person when his child goes off the derech than if one has his child slaughtered, rachmana litzlan

A second tirutz is based on the Chofetz Chaim in Hilchos Lashon Hora 10:2 that says that despite the fact that one may say lashon hora so the person on whom the lashon hora is said upon will receive mussar, this is only if the person who repeats the lashon hora saw it himself. If he never saw it, he can’t speak about it. Yaakov, who sat in bais medrash a whole day, never saw the terrible things done by Esav, so he could not tell his father about it. 

A third tirutz is based on the Biur Halacha 608 that says that the fact that the Rema said that one is mechuyav to be mocheh on a de’oraysa applies only on a person who does it sometimes. A mumar and a mechalel Shabbos is considered to be someone who left Am Yisroel and therefore there is no chiyuv to be mocheh on what he does. Yaakov therefore had no chiyuv to tell Yitzchok about Eisav

A fourth tirutz is based on teachings by Reb Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva in Chevron who quoted a Maharit on Orach Chaim 7 that discusses whether or not Eisav is counted as being meyuchas to Yitzchok. When Avrohom was told who will become Klal YisroelHashem said, “Ki BeYitzchok yikarai lecha zara.” Not all of the children will be included – BeYitzchok – is referring to part of his descendants, meaning Yaakov and not Eisav. A proof of this is found in the Gemara in Nedarim 31a that says that one who makes a neder will not have any benefit from the children of Avraham. This would not include Yishmael or Eisav. That is the reason why Yaakov felt that he should not tell his father the activities of Eisav

A fifth and final tirutz is that Yaakov felt that every time he saw Eisav do kibbud av he figured that he is doing teshuva, as we find in Kiddushin 49b that if a person says I am married to you on condition that I am a tzaddik gamur, the kiddushin is valid. The reason is that we assume he might have done teshuva. That is why Yaakov did not tell Yitzchok about Eisav’s activities. 

May we be zocheh to get all the brachos that Yitzchok bentched Yaakov!   

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