Toldos: Yaakov's Focus

Last week, as I walked out of the house close to sunset, the sky was completely empty, except for in the east, where there was a small puff of a cloud.  However, the cloud looked a tad strange.  I noticed that it also had a trail that started from the ground and went up to the ground.  Of course, "cool" was the first thing that came into my mind.

The air raid sirens only go off in places where the trajectory of the rocket is supposed to carry it.  While I could see it, I was not in any danger thankfully, and we did not hear any sirens.  When I went in to tell my wife, she told me that my oldest son just called.  He was coming home from yeshiva on the bus, when the sirens went off and they were forced to run off into a ditch on the side of the road.  He couldn't help but watch the Iron Dome at work, and of course his reaction was, "cool".

I told him that he is such an important person in this world that Hezbollah is doing their best to kill him personally!  What an honour!  However, now that I think about it, perhaps it's better for my sake then, that he returns to yeshiva as soon as possible‚Ķ.

We all know that Yaakov and Eisav represent two completely different aspects in the world.  Eisav is the symbol of impurity, chasing after one's desires, "living the life," while Yaakov represents holiness and purity.

However, the Torah seems to "play it down" a little bit.  It describes Eisav as a "man of the fields" and Yaakov as a "man who sits in the tents."  Rav Shimshon Pincus asked, I would have thought that the Torah would have added a bit more description into both of them to give us a better understanding of who they are.  Describe Eisav's wickedness!  Describe Yaakov's saintliness!  Seemingly, even Rashi doesn't help us, translating "a man of the fields" as a man who wastes his life or without direction (not a direct translation).

However, Rav Pincus answers, Rashi DOES give us a deeper insight.  He explains the core difference between Eisav and Yaakov, and the results that occur when you follow one or the other.

Eisav is without direction.  He has no "focus" and seemingly has all the time in the world.  He lives life "in the now." And when a person has no spiritual goals, his life can easily lead to simply living a life chasing after luxury and desire and false ideas.

I might add that, perhaps, we see why certain elements of Yishmoel (today's Muslim world) happen to enjoy a level of success, comparatively.  Let's take Iran for example.  Their leadership has a spiritual goal: the elimination of Jews.  A pretty straightforward goal.  And quite frankly, you see in many aspects, they are successful.  After all, look at today's supposedly neutral parties of the world: you know, the United Nations, Red Cross, etc., all of them blatantly anti-Jewish. Why?  Because these Muslim groups have a focus and a goal, and they are putting all they have into it.  And nobody can accuse them of being short-term thinkers.  They are certainly able to think in the long-term and are able to maintain their focus and vision for decades.

And who are they able to convince to join them?  People who have no focus in life.  People who have plenty of time, with little responsibility: university students, socialists, communists, Europe. Oh, and don't forget Canada.

Again, that's just my take.  I could be wrong.

However, Yaakov is the opposite of that.  We DO have a job.  We DO have a focus.  And when we follow that focus, we are successful.  However, when we negate our mission, we are not.

This is not only true regarding our national mission in life as Jews, but it is equally true regarding our personal mission as Jews.  By taking an additional three seconds to make a bracha with concentration before we eat something, we are fulfilling our mission.  When we take five minutes to learn Torah, we are fulfilling our mission.  When we spend a little extra money to buy something special for Shabbos, we are fulfilling our mission.  And all this does not require us to have some lofty, spiritual experience.

Our national and personal mission is to use as much of our life as possible to bring holiness into the world via the blueprints of the Torah.  And that means using our time properly as much as possible.  The more we remain focused on being Hashem's presence in the world, the more He remains focused on being with us in the world.