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Section:  Avodah   Category: Chanoch L'Naar
How A Tzaddik Loves His Bad Son
Without belaboring the point, clearly Yitzchok's love of Eisav demands an explanation.  So does the fact that the Torah contrasts this to Rivka's love for Yaakov.  Although I haven't seen this explanation, it is well grounded in hashkafa and is an issue that we as parents often struggle with, so I will take the liberty of sharing it.

Rav Eliyahu Dessler in Michtav MeiEliyahu says that the word "Ahava" or to love, is not what our generation takes it to mean.  While we use it to describe the subject of our own indulgence, a person, place, or thing that give us great pleasure, he says that it is quite the contrary.  Buried in the root of the word "Ahava" is the word "Hav" or "give" in Aramaic.  Rav Dessler says that the more we give our efforts to something, the more we love it.  Although this seems diametrically opposed to our selfish kind of love, in fact it is driven by the same factor.  The logic behind Rav Dessler's love is that the more of my own energy I put into something, the more it is an extension of myself, and therefore I love it like I love myself.

Examining Yitzchok's love for Eisav through the lens of true love, we can propose a "Mihalech" an approach with which to explain Yitzchok's relationship with Yaakov and Eisav.  Yitzchok clearly knew that Yaakov was a Tzaddik Tamim.  He was the ideal child.  A child destined for greatness.  In Eisav he saw tremendous talents and potential, but he also a saw a child on the fringe.  Eisav's character and skill set placed in a precarious position, with both good uses for his talents and very bad one's open before him.

Yitzchok loved Eisav, meaning that he invested all his efforts into making sure Eisav chose the right path.  To Yaakov he rationed less of his time and energy because he knew he would be okay and Yitzchok's attention was not a matter of life or death.  Eisav was his special project, the love of his life, as Rav Dessler would surely call him.  Rivka on the other hand believed that Eisav was not on the fringe, he was a lost cause (as we see from her decision to help Yaakov take the Brachos from Eisav).  She felt that he would not turn out to be an Oveid Hashem in any capacity.  He was not worth the time.  Better to invest in the son who is the only future of Klal Yisroel.  Help him soar to new heights and not leave him to his natural trajectory.  She "loved" Yaakov.

In our yeshivos and to a lesser degree in our homes we are faced with the same dilemma.  Do we cater to the cream of the class and risk losing the weak children, or do we pay special attention to the weak at the expense of the potential growth of the strong children.  Each case is probably different and in all cases some sort of tailor made balance must be reached.  But this is one of those hard questions that we need to ask ourselves and come up with a concrete plan, rather than waffling and floating back and forth aimlessly, helping no one.  May we all be zocheh to raise a generation on which we can truly say "VAmeich Kulam Tzaddikim... each in their own way with their own talent.  May we be zocheh to raise the generation that will have the honor to be Mikabel Pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu Bimheira BiYameinu Amein!
RELATED ARTICLES:children  chinuch  Eisav  love  Rav Eliyahu Dessler  Rivka  Yitzchok Avinu

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