Toldos: Step Out of the Ring

Finally, the municipality elections are over.  The religious party received only two seats, however, there was one big win for us.  The person we supported for mayor, who’s completely non-religious, won, and he knows that it was the religious community’s vote that got him in.  The Shabbos following the elections, he came to shul, and asked to speak for two minutes, something which I’ve never seen.  In his talk, he had a small dvar Torah, and then thanked the community for their support, promising us that he plans to work together with us (compared to some of his competitors who openly planned to work against us—including one who wears a kippa himself).  He also made one of our folks his deputy mayor, which is a big thing.  This specific individual has served on the city council for a while and is qualified, but, obviously, that could come in useful for the religious community as a whole.  Perhaps we can finally get a bigger school building for our boys.  Well . . . thankfully, it’s all over.


“Pour into me, now, some of that very red stuff for I am exhausted . . . . He therefore called his name Edom [i.e. red]” (Bereishis 25:30).


The Midrash says that Eisav came back exhausted, since he was very busy involving himself in some major sins.  Five very serious sins specifically.  Yet, the Torah names him Edom, after the red stew that he ate.  You would think that there would be another name attached to him, Adulterer, Killer, etc. Instead, the Torah names him after a pot of stew.


Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein gives an answer to this question.  Yes, he was an adulterer, and a killer, and this, and that, but there was one trait which served as a base for all of his sins.  Eisav had an issue—he was unable to calm himself down and think rationally.  “Pour into me, NOW, some of that very red stuff!”  Instant gratification.  That’s what was the base of all of Eisav’s issues.


When a person feels the "heat of the moment," he can either follow through with his desires, or take control of himself and remove himself from the situation until he can come back and think clearly. Rav Pincus, once when speaking about following into depression (I believe it was depression—it’s been a while since I last heard the talk) said that the best thing to do was to go to bed.  Don’t do anything.  Don’t go anywhere.  Who knows where you will end up.  Just go to bed, and at least stay in a neutral position.


Eisav was not like this.  When he wanted something, he went out to get it.  And from that inability to control that aspect of his nature, he went from one sin to another without stop.


So, the next time we are in a situation where we feel the “heat is on,” the best thing to do is to step out of the ring for a while and let yourself think coolly and logically.


Have a great Shabbos!


Michael Winner