Parashat Toldot: Sanctifying Hashem's Name in the Field

[Tal Chermon p. 58]

When Esav and Yaakov grew up, their different roles became apparent: "And Esav became a man knowledgeable in hunting, a man of the field, and Yaakov was a wholesome man who dwelled in tents" (Bereshit 25:27). Esav was not simply "knowledgeable in hunting" but he was a "man knowledgeable in hunting." His essence was to be a man of the field, a man of this world, a man who courageously confronts wild animals. Yaakov's essence was as a "wholesome man who dwelled in tents." It is possible that he also knew how to hunt; he was able to do so, but it was not an integral part of his nature. His essence was as one who "dwelled in tents," learning Torah and involved in spiritual matters. Esav's role was more difficult. It does not take great wisdom to sanctify Hashem's Name in the yeshivah; there are not many potential pitfalls there. But to contend with all of the world's complications and to overcome them is a great sanctification of Hashem's Name (There is a Chasidic interpretation of the midrash describing Esav's kicking to leave his mother's womb as he passed by sites idol worship which explains as Esav's attempt to sanctify Hashem's Name in the midst of idolatry). Esav was a courageous warrior, who was "a man knowledgeable in hunting," fighting against the wild animals in the field of reality and overcoming them.