It’s Not For Sale
When the housing market is slow, they tell you it’s not a time to sell. There are some things that never are supposed to be sold, period. Perhaps the most consequential sale in the history of business occurs during this week’s Torah portion. You would think that there would have been board meetings along with days of discussion before this transaction took place, but no, it was a spur of the moment decision as Esau, Jacob’s twin brother, was in a rush to get things done.
He came home from a hunting trip (and apparently didn’t have a good day in the field because he was) hungry. His twin (younger) brother Yaakov was in the kitchen cooking a “red lentil” cholent. Upon Esau’s arrival he asked his brother to feed him. Jacob, seizing the opportunity, requested that the “birthright” be given to him in exchange for the stew. (It isn’t very different than assuming debt of a company that you buy or some of the strange requests you see in pubic business transactions.) Esau being a man who failed to see past the today and into tomorrow, felt that satisfying his hunger was worth more than the birthright.
For one who lives in the moment, Esau was right. His birthright would not be able to fulfill his immediate need, so why not get rid of it. But he was wrong in not being able to understand that some things won’t necessarily be able to calm your current impulses, however they will have lots of value that will come in handy in the future. We as the Jewish people also have a birthright, one that allows us to have the pleasure of living the most fulfilling and rewarding life we possibly can. However there are times when we are faced with the question should we sell or give up that treasure for some meaningless bowl of red stew (material pursuit)? Should we let go of the potential for years of real gratification for minutes of fleeting pleasure?
At the time it doesn’t seem that we are giving much up, but you know, Esau thought the same thing, and he lost out on what became a nation of people still very much alive today. He lost out on giving his children the possibility of the “factory installed” software. So next time we are faced with an offer to trade in our birthright for one of the myriads of the momentary pleasures out there, remember it’s not for sale and its non negotiable, move on!
Rabbi Mendy Hecht