Vayishlach: Even Eisav Should Be Good

One of the hostages released the other night was "Roni."  Roni has become a bit popular in these regions, since he's a "northerner," and his photos are up everywhere.  Roni is 25, with long hair, and if he were American, undoubtedly his number one word would be "Dude …."  I don't know a thing about him, except for that's the impression his photo gives off.

His father was interviewed hours before his release and he confirmed this impression.  He explained that Roni has a "habit" of escaping death, including falling into a manhole and being involved in two car crashes.  And now?  He was wounded and kidnapped to Gaza, and he survived.  The building he was being kept in was bombed by Israel, and he survived.  He used that to escape and wandered around Gaza for four days, with no food, water, or friends, and he survived.  He was captured by innocent Palestinians, who nicely decided not to follow their traditions and lynch him, and he survived.  They clearly innocently turned him over to what they innocently thought were Israeli soldiers (even though they were carrying AK-47s, masked, and wearing green headbands saying "I AM HAMAS"), and he survived.  And then, when only children and their mothers, and older sick women were being released, Roni, the 25 year-old healthy male, was the only one of his gender and age group to be released.

There's something that Roni has going for himself.

"That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven sons, he crossed the ford of the Yabbok" (Bereishis 32: 23).

Rashi, quoting the Midrash, asks, "Where was Yaakov's daughter Dina?" The Midrash answers that he hid her in order that Eisav shouldn't marry her.  Therefore, Yaakov was punished for withholding her from Eisav, for perhaps she could have returned Eisav to the right path.

Rav Chaim Cohen Rappaport asks one of the famous questions on this, why should Yaakov be punished for this?  Who in the world would want their daughter to marry such a wicked person who could have who knows what type of terrible influence on her?  Not only that, but we see clearly in halacha, that he is in the right.

By looking at the words of the Midrash a little closer, we can see what really was Yaakov's motivation.  The Midrash never said that the reason he withheld her was for her own sake.  In fact, Yaakov could be sure that Eisav would not have had a negative effect on her.  Look at Esther.  She married Achashverosh and yet, she never wavered in her Judaism.  Rather, the Midrash says, the reason he withheld her from him was "perhaps she could have returned Eisav to the right path."

Being, Yaakov's hatred for Eisav and his wickedness was so strong, that he didn't even want Eisav to do tshuvah.

A pretty strong statement.  I couldn't have said such a thing myself.

I guess from here we see an additional warning to "hate the sin, and not the sinner."  Or perhaps just the opposite: we want only good (according to the Torah) for those who sin. Even when somebody is so steeped in wickedness, while we must stay away from him and even fight him, he should always hope and daven that they will do a complete teshuvah.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos.