Toledot: World War One and Forever

The war in Rivka’s womb is pretty intense. In one corner is Yaakov, who at this early stage is already waging the battle for Divine truth. And in the other corner is Esau, who is already denying God; who basically sees the purpose of the world as a place to fulfill his needs and passions.

Good versus Evil

This turbulence in Rivka’s stomach is how it all started. It is the beginning of the most essential war, an eternal one that has run the course of history. We are talking about the war of good versus evil. This is the real war which dwarfs all others. Whether one wants to accept it or deny it, this is the perpetual conflict that is taking place behind the scenes of history.

In a war so basic, of such substance, there is no lull. These two fetuses, who embody the good and the evil, are not able to stand one another even in their mother’s womb. The bitter dispute is already underway, “and the children clashed inside her”.

No Co-Existence

This war is the beginning of what later on will be known as the war of Yaakov and Esau. It has already been written: “The halacha is known: Esau hates Yaakov”. It is an inherent, natural hatred, one that cannot be extinguished. Our sages add something else, to make things even clearer. They tell us that if someone comes to you and says: Jerusalem and Edom (which is the kingdom of Esau) are both thriving – do not believe him; both are destroyed – do not believe him; one is thriving and one is destroyed – believe him. The sages are conveying us an awesome message here —

There is no Peace With Evil

There are those who feel the time has arrived for “world peace”, for co-existence between nations, religions and races of all kinds. The Torah comes and says: No way. No way can there be peace with Esau. These are two opposites. One is good and one is evil. And there is no co-existence between good and evil!

A revolutionary idea? Hardly. Certainly not for someone who learns Torah properly. For the Jewish People, there is no aspiration to make peace with Esau. On the contrary. According to Jewish tradition, God is not complete and His throne is not complete until Amalek has been wiped out from the world. And who is Amalek? Amalek (Esau’s grandchild) is an extreme manifestation of Esau in this world.

Peace at the proper time, and war at the proper time. Yes, we all want peace, but peace only with good, and with good, decent people. With evil, not only aren’t we interested in peace, but the Torah even commands us to wage an all out war against it, “and you shall burn out the evil from thy midst!” Nothing less than that. For the war against evil is not a personal war, but rather a mission that God gave us the moment we breathed the air of this world, and even beforehand…

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