We are now in the middle of the trio of Ya'akov Avinu's parshiyot about the meat and potatoes of his life of Emeth (Toldot, VaYeitzei, and VaYishlach (Bereishit 25:19 - Bereishit 36)) before the central focus of the Torah switches to the fate of Yosef, Yehudah, and his other ten sons, one daughter, and ultimately his 70 descendants who descend into Mitzraim for a 210 year Galut and a 250 year absence from Eretz Yisrael. In this post I will be referring to Rav Mendel Kessin Shlit"a's drashot about Donald Trump and other matters dealing with Esav. He has really been speaking in depth about Esav from a hashkafic perspective on tapes and videos that I have been listening to now for almost 25 years. So his hashkafic analysis of Donald Trump's "miraculous" victory is only the subject matter of some of his most recent videos on Youtube. As a review, Rav Kessin has always taught as long as I can remember that Esav was supposed to attain spiritual greatness by resisting and destroying Evil in the World. As Ya'akov's twin brother his mission in the world was supposed to be fraternally "twinned" with what Ya'akov was supposed to accomplish. Ya'akov was supposed to imbue the universe with sanctity and goodness through keeping G-d's commandments of Infusing sanctity into the World. Since Goodness or Human Decency, imbued with knowledge of already revealed sanctity, is incumbent on all Mankind (not just on the descendants of Ya'akov), I won't say here that Ya'akov is unique in being commanded in being good and decent. Mankind whether he/she knows it or not (and apparently few humans even know it), is commanded in this. Yet, the descendants of Ya'akov ARE commanded in revealing the hidden sanctity that exists in the world for the purpose of perfecting it. This is unique to the role of Ya'akov's descendants throughout history. Esav though was supposed to fulfill another unique role that originally was not supposed to be Ya'akov's chief concern. He WAS SUPPOSED to ultimately defeat Evil in the world, vanquishing it to the dustbin of human history. But lo and behold, not only did he fail to take on that mantle and to engage in that mission, he succumbed to Evil in his own life and became the Chief perpetrator of doing Evil and engaging others in his evil causes and evil spiritual projects. So because he succumbed to the "dark side" (the sitra achra), Ya'akov was given the added stress and burden of taking on Esav's job which according to the gematriah of Esav's name (376) and Ya'akov's name spelled with a Vav (188) was twice as hard as Ya'akov's role in history could ever be! Taking on the bad guys involves the spilling of the blood of the wicked. Going to war against the wicked is emotionally, spiritually, and physically much more taxing than not eating treif food, keeping Shabbat, and shaking the lulav and etrog on Sukkot.... as laudable and important as those mitzvot are!
Knowing that Ya'akov was already taxed to the hilt doing his difficult role in human history, HaShem had Rachmanut on him personally and gave him a son, Yosef, who would take on the mantle of destroying Evil in the world along with destroying and obliterating Esav's grandchild Amaleq who took on the mantle of leading the world toward the Abyss. Amaleq was the the son of Esav's firstborn son Eliphaz who also fathered his future concubine Timna who gave birth to Amaleq by having and an adulterous affair with Se'ir the Horite's wife. Timna was born form Se'ir the Horite's sexually twisted wife, and several years later this mamzeret becomes Eliphaz's concubine in addition to already being his daughter. She then gives birth to Amaleq. You can't get more twisted than that. From Bereishit 36: If you read Rashi, Seir the Horite's wife was pretty busy engaging in several adulterous, incestuous relations with other men apparently over the course of several generations. She was likely born close to the time of the Great Flood and lived a lengthy life as an incestuous and adulterous whore. I wonder if the word "whore" comes from Hori? In Bereishit 36:22 we see that Timna was Lotan ben Se'ir's sister, but in First Chronicles 1:36 we see that she is listed as being one of Eliphaz's children in addition to her being his concubine! As we will soon see, much of the Esav mishpachah was born from zenut and mamzerut (incest and adultery), and in at least one other occasion, this was repeated when the resultant mamzerim have adulterous and incestuous relations over at least two generations. In the case of Amaleq, he is therefore a mamzer two times over. His mother was already a mamzeret because she was the product of an adulterous relationship, but Amaleq himself is the product of Eliphaz having relations with his own daughter! Into this milieu, the Chief protagonist for Evil in the world is born, and it became the job of the Children of Rachel and Osnat bat Potiphara to put a stop to him. In this context, Binyamin ben Rachel can only partially defeat Amaleq, never quite destroying him at his root. Only Yosef, who Rav Kessin calls a Chetzi Av, a Half Patriarch, and Ephraim ben Yosef veOsnat can defeat Amaleq at his root in the world. The koach to do this seems to at least in part from Yosef and his descendants being impervious to the Evil Eye. He alone can "stare down Esav whose eyes are Amaleq", and win.
Now delving further into the Rashi, we see that this same pattern of consistent and persistent adultery and incest over several generations happened in one other instance with Esav's Hivite wife Oholibamah, and it serves as a useful lesson to analyze this particular set of circumstances. For one, both the Hittites and the Hivites were steeped in idolatry, a very common condition in the ancient world. Believe it or not the Hivites were worse. While the the Hittites may have been prolific idolaters, they were not known for rampant sexual immorality. They seem to have kept their family lines pure albeit idolatrous. The Hivites though seemed to engage in rampant sexual immorality and sexual violence, in the case of Shechem ben Hamur the Hivite raping Dinah, in addition to their rampant idolatry. So they were, as Canaanite nations go, a lot worse than the Hittites. At the age of 40 Esav decides to marry because he knew that Yitzchak married at age 40, and Esav was never lax when it came to impressing his father. So whom does he marry? From Parshat VaYishlach we see that he marries Adah bat Eilon the Hittite and even worse Oholibamah bat Anah (and) bat Tziv'on the Hivite. Right away one can spot the problem. Adah may have been an idolater who offered up incense to avodah zarah, but she at least only had one daddy. Oholibamah seems to have two daddies! Well again we return to Rashi to delve into this unholy mess. And by delving into the mess we can then get a picture of why earlier on in Bereishit 26:34 we read:
וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו, בֶּן-אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה אֶת-יְהוּדִית, בַּת-בְּאֵרִי הַחִתִּי--וְאֶת-בָּשְׂמַת, בַּת-אֵילֹן הַחִתִּי. 34 And when Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Yehudith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
What is Esav talking about? He married a woman named Oholibamah bat Anah bat Tziv'on the Hivite, and when introducing her to his parents, he completely changed her name, her fathers' names, and her nationality! And to make matters worse, there is one more detail that made this marriage an Embitterment of Spirit for his parents. Marrying into Canaan is problematic because unless an individual Canaanite does teshuvah which is definitely and entirely possible, the Canaanite is cursed. Eliezer from Dameshek (Damascus) is one example where a Canaanite whose nation is from just outside the border of Eretz Yisrael does teshuvah and goes from a status of being cursed to a status of being blessed. But more of a problem than marrying into a curse is marrying specifically into the 7 Canaanite nations who inhabited Eretz Yisrael as opposed to the 3 Canaanite nations whose land is not in Eretz Yisrael. If your inheritance is Eretz Yisrael, you cannot marry someone with duel loyalties to the Holy nation and one of the 7 nations who will be displaced when the time comes! So already Yitzchak and Rivkah are going to be very very upset. So Esav has to find a way to soften the blow when introducing Oholibamah to his parents.
1. He changes the nationality of his Hivite wife to being the nationality of the less odious Hittites. That was lie number one.
So getting back to Rashi, what else is Esav trying to hide? Answer: the particulars about the yichus of his wife Oholibamah the Hivite: Let us examine. We see from Bereishit 36:20 we read that Tziv'on and Anah are brothers, both sons of Se'ir the Horite who apparently is a Hivite too. Yet, just four verses later we read that Tziv'on is Anah's father. How can this be? Well remember the resident promiscuous wife (or whore) of Seir? Well she did the same thing, even worse, even before having a later illicit affair with Eliphaz. Here she had an incestuous AND adulterous relationship with her own son Tziv'on and bore Anah who is now already a mamzer from this affair. We then read that Anah, who is born into perverse sin, then mates the unmatable, a male jackass with a female horse to produce mules for his father, meaning in part that it was not enough for his father to do it just once and also meaning that Anah himself was irreparably spiritually damaged goods. Several years later the same sexual predator Tziv'on is at it again. This time after his son gets married, the same Tziv'on then has another adulterous and incestuous relationship with his son's wife to give birth to Oholibamah! So in reality, Oholibamah is not the daughter of Anah at all even though she is the daughter of Anah's wife and her pretend grandfather Tziv'on who is really her father. And this is whom Esav has to introduce to his parents! So lies number two and three. He changes her name and her father's and grandfather's name because of her notorious yichus. I almost did not include here that several years after the birth of Oholibamah, Eliphaz the son of Adah the Hittite has an adulterous, incestuous relationship with Oholibamah his father's other wife and the daughter of two daddies, to give us Aluf Korach who is listed as both Oholibamah's son (36:5) and Eliphaz's son (36:15-16). So let us get it out of the way and mention that now. Incest and adultery run rampant in her family. So she personally was no exception to this behavior. And then by the way, Esav engages in lie number 4.
4. He changed Oholibamah's first name to Yehudit because it has three of the four letters of HaShem's name in that name. So by introducing her as Yehudit, he was pretending that this particular Hittite woman who was really a Hivite had given up on her penchant for Avodah Zarah, and we have already seen that she did not even give up on her penchant for sexual immorality because later on in life she has an adulterous affair with her husband's son from another wife Eliphaz to give birth to her own mamzer. So no way had Oholibamah done teshuvah for anything. But there is much much more to this name Yehudit. Her brother-in-law Yaakov STILL had not given birth to any children when Esav introduces her as Yehudit to his parents. Ya'akov Avinu was 84 years old when he started fathering children. Yehudah was likely born when he was 87 years old, for he was the fourth son from the same wife. That is 47 years after Esav introduces Oholibamah to his parents as Yehudit. What prophetic insight got into his head to call his wife a Jew (or Yehudit) 47 years BEFORE the word Jew or Yehudi had any meaning whatsoever?? Save that question for later.
Lie number 5. He renames Oholibamah's pretend father to be Be'eri, meaning "My well". Esav has already seen from his father's behavior that his father loves unstopping the wells of Esav's grandfather Avraham that the ancient Pelishtim kept stopping up (just to prove that their penchant for being destructive was no less evident that the modern Pelishtim's penchant for destroying things out of hate and spite)....kind of like burning down the country that you supposedly want to inherit. And in the case of Beer Sheva, Yitzchak even found his own fresh well of water for which he was overjoyed. So Esav sees that his father has tremendous joy over finding well-water both old and new. So presto, Oholibamah's father is the source of some deep, deep wisdom like the depth of a well. That should really impress dear old dad.
End of part One. For those who need a break from this mental gymnastics of figuring out everyone's yichus, for your listening pleasure: I Am My Own Grandpa! from comedic genius Ray Stevens.