by Yisroel Leichtman
It's important to note the
way in which the Torah illustrates the essential difference between
Yaakov and Esau. The description does not detail Yaakov's great
deed nor mention his diligence and vast knowledge. The Torah only
describes him as one who "sits in a tent". The Targum
of Yonasan Ben Uziel explains this to mean that he had a powerful
desire to learn Torah, that his strength was his desire to seek
This strength was the cause
that ultimately brought Yaakov to all of his greatness. For when
a person's motivation is strong his future is assured. Therefore
this desire to be a seeker contained within it all of Yaakov's greatness.
Similarly, the Torah's description
of Esau does not detail all of his misguided actions. Instead, he
is described as a "man who knew hunting, a man of the field".
Rashi explains this to mean he was a man of leisure. Again,
the Torah finds that all of Esau's evil deeds were outcomes of his
tendency to waste time. Even before he did anything wrong, his future
had already been determined by this one powerful and essential quality.
A person must therefore think
deeply to evaluate how great is the importance of an underlying
motivation. Much care must be taken to guard oneself from tendencies
that bring to sin. Even if they are completely permissible, within
them all seriousness is already contained. All of Gehinnom is
already complete within them.
All the more so when dealing
with a positive tendency one should certainly reflect, take to heart
and place importance on those motivations that are leading him to
good. They should be dearer to him than anything else because within
them all perfection is contained.