Toldos: The Voice & Hands

"And he (Yitzchok) said, 'The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav'" (Bereishis 27:22).

They say, (and if it's true or not, I don't know, but it IS something he would say) that when the Israeli government was finalizing the official language of the state, there were several options that they had.  What type of pronunciation should it be?  Like the European Ashkanazim or the Middle eastern Sfardim.  Similarly, what type of written "cursive" should it be?  There's "Rashi script," which was being used by the Sfardim or the script that was used by the Ashkanazim.

In the end, it was decided to use the Sfardi pronunciation and the Ashkanazi writing.  To which Rav Ovadia Yosef (a major Sfardi rav who was known for poking fun at the Ashkanzim) responded: "The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav."

Again, if the story is true, I have no idea, but it's certainly something he would have said.

Speaking of that pasuk.

When Yaakov approaches Yitzchok, in disguise, to receive the brachos, Yitzchok is taken back.  He's ready to give the bracha to Eisav, his first born.  And being blind, he was unable to see that it was Yaakov in front of him.  However, when Yaakov started to speak, Yitzchok became confused.  On one hand, it seems that it's Eisav.  This person feels like Eisav (Yaakov disguised himself), yet it sounds like how Yaakov speaks!  Yitzchok stalls a little bit, but quickly recovers and continues to give the brachos.

I believe it's a Midrash that says that at the time there is a "voice" of Yaakov (through prayer and learning) the hands of Eisav have no power.  When there is no "voice" of Yaakov, then the hands of Eisav have power.

Yet, here, right in the Torah, we see both the voice of Yaakov and the hands of Eisav at the same time!

Answers Rav Yehoshua Mehoradna, that when Yitzchok felt this discrepancy in the person in front of him, he was indeed confused, because such a contradiction doesn't exist.  However, he understood, that as long as there is a "voice of Yaakov" at the time of the "hands of Eisav," the "voice of Yaakov" will ultimately win and negate the "hands of Eisav."

Personally, I would like to add that generally this pasuk is used to describe our national qualities, between Yisroel and Eisav.  However, it's possible to take this lesson and apply it to one's personal situation.  When a person sins and falls into depression, the "hands of Eisav" take strength, pushing him further and further down.  However, a person should not give up.  He should do small things to keep the "voice of Yaakov" alive.  There is no need to look for huge mitzvahs to compensate for the downfall, since that's not what will do the trick.  Only by keeping the "voice of Yaakov" alive, in any way, through small tefillos, some learning, some mitzvos, easy things, will the "voice of Yaakov" eventually overtake the "hands of Eisav."

Have a wonderful Shabbos!