Be sure to maintain a healthy balance between the world of the home and the world of the office. Both are important!
The week’s Torah portion is “Toldot” (Genesis 25:18-28:9), and in it we read about Jacob purchasing the “birthright” from his twin brother, Esau.
As the story goes, one day upon returning home from a day of hunting, Esau finds Jacob in the kitchen cooking a lentil soup. Esau was so hungry and tired that he actually asked Jacob to pour the soup into his mouth for him! “Give me some of that red stuff,” he demanded.
The Torah tells us that “Edom,” meaning “Red,” became the name of the nation that descends from Esau because he called the lentil soup “the red stuff.”
The question is asked: Why are the descendants of Esau forever known as the Edomites just because once Esav called lentil soup “the red stuff”? At the same time, it is worth exploring WHY he called the lentil soup “the red stuff” rather than just saying, “May I have some soup, please?”
As mentioned, Esau was a hunter. However, we are told that he hunted to the point of obsession. He cared little about anything else in life. He may have been the first “workaholic.” This is why he didn’t ask for the lentil soup by name – he really didn’t care about much else in the world. He didn’t bother to even identify what was cooking. Noticing the color was enough for him.
And this is why the name stuck. It reminds us of bad attributes and poor judgement. Whenever we mention Esau or his descendants, we are reminded how unbecoming it is to focus solely on material pursuits, even if it may be our profession and source of income. Esau reminds us that there are other important things in life.
There is certainly nothing wrong with pursuing a career, making a living and even enjoying some days out in the field, if that what one likes to do in his or her free time. But we cannot let our jobs take over our lives. Esau teaches us: When you don’t even have the time or interest to ask for food properly – not to mention prepare a meal or even feed yourself – seek help, you’ve got a problem!
Be sure that you always keep a healthy balance between the world of the home and the world of the office. Both are important!
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
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