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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Toldot 6-5


Genesis 26:30 – 27:27

Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."

Gen. 27:19 ESV

Can the end justify the means?

Rivkah had more revelation than Yitzchak about what the Eternal thought of her two sons. She knew that no matter how much Esav was honouring his father, there were very unpleasant things within him from the Eternal's perspective and he was not the heir of the promises. (Gen 25:23, 34; Mal. 1:2-3; Heb. 12:16; Rom. 9:13). She knew that Esav's offspring were not going to be the bearers of the spiritual inheritance of the family, because he had married women from the people of Kenaan (26:34-35).

Therefore, when she found out that Yitzchak wanted to give Esav the blessing of the spiritual inheritance reserved for the firstborn, she plotted a plan so that Yaakov received the blessing by deceiving his father. Yaakov accepted his mother’s plan because he sought spiritual matters with all his heart (25:27). Eventually, the Eternal allowed Yitzchak to be deceived and Yaakov to be blessed instead of Esav.

The question that arises now is: Did Rivkah and Yaakov do the right thing by deceiving Yitzchak that way? Can the end justify the means?

Rivkah had said that if her husband found out that Yaakov was trying to deceive him, and Yitzchak cursed him, the curse would fall on her. But, Yitzchak didn't find out and didn't curse Yaakov, so Rivkah didn't get any curse either.

Then, was there only blessing in Yaakov's life for having deceived his father? Certainly not. The consequences of that deception were very grave for the whole family. First, this event brought hatred and homicidal thoughts in Esav against his brother. To cause discord between siblings is one of the sins that the Eternal hates most (Prov. 6:16, 19). This deception also caused twenty years of suffering in the galut – “diaspora” in Greek, “exile” in English – to our father Yaakov. Yaakov not only had to suffer the traumatic experience of losing contact with his family – not to mention his parents' grief – but also the big deception he was subject to by his uncle Lavan, who made him marry a woman he didn't want and changed his salary ten times.

It is true that Yaakov kept the blessing but he, as well as his mother, had to undergo the serious consequences of having deceived Yitzchak. Only after being psychologically broken and physically harmed by an angel could he reconcile with his brother and receive the blessing legally.

But if the Eternal didn't want Esav to receive the blessing, what Rivkah and Yaakov did was right after all? No, it wasn't. The Eternal is very wise and powerful enough to be able to change circumstances so His will is fulfilled on earth according to His eternal purpose. He could have fixed the situation in a different manner so that Yaakov received the blessing instead of Esav, which was His plan.

But one who tries to help the Eternal through dirty, deceitful and tricky means, brings upon himself His displeasure and will have to pay a high price until he humbles himself and learns the lesson of never doing that again. 

No end can justify illicit means. All that a man sows he will also reap.

Be honest and love truth and never try to receive spiritual blessings through dirty means. In this way you will avoid many years of exile, deception and hard work.


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