Project Genesis

Jewish Texts

What does Esau’s blessing mean?

Question: What is is meant by the blessing Issac grants to Esau when he says, “The fat places of the earth can still be your dwelling, and [you can still have] the dew of heaven.”

Answer: Jacob was given the great blessing of being the leader of the Jewish people. Esau was also given a blessing; he would lead a nation as well. According to Jewish tradition, Esau’s offspring ended up creating the “western civilization” known as Rome. Esau represented the physical world, and Western Civilization have become the masters of that world. He stood for and put his stock in the physical, the here and now, instead of the spiritual and the mystical. This is evidenced by his selling of the birthright for what he called the “red stuff” – the lentil soup. I hope that this puts Esau into perspective for you.

Rabbi Litt

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