When Yaakov was sending to Eisav his gift of 580 animals to appease him, the passuk tells us ויקח מן הבא בידו מנחה לעשו אחיו that he took from which came in his hand. The description of מן הבא בידו is a little cryptic. Rashi brings the Chazal that the gift of Yaakov included also gems that one ties in a purse and carries it in his hands to which the Baal Haturim adds מנחה is gematriah אבנים. Another interpretation is that this gift of Yaakov only contained items from which Maaser has already been separated. Let us present a new interpretation to the meaning of these words by which we will be able to define clearly the different roles of Yaakov and Eisav.
Chazal tell us that even in the womb Eisav and Yaakov had split ideologies. Eisav pursued this world and Yaakov the next. They made a deal between themselves that Eisav would inherit this world and that Yaakov would have the next world. This deal brings us to a big dilemma of how then, can AmYisrael partake from this world and yet it should still not be considered stealing from Eisav’s portion? One answer that’s given is based on the Halacha that if one buys a house in the middle of the field but not the land surrounding it, and he did not stipulate that he is buying the path leading to the house’s entrance, the sale automatically includes the pathway to the house. For it is understood that no one would make such a purchase without the ability to enter his house by walking to it. So too, when Yaakov chose the World to Come, automatically with it came the pathway in order to enter Olam Habah and that pathway is Olam Hazeh.
However, this explanation tells us that Am Yisrael can only partake from this world the necessities required to arrive at the next world. Anything more than the minimum would be considered excess and would border on stealing from Eisav. But if one acquires a greater amount than the minimum, it still can be deemed not stealing from Eisav as long as they are used for mitzvos and to enhance avodas Hashem. As the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim writes in Siman 231. בכל דרכיך דעהו in all your ways know Hashem. Ways can be referring to Olam Hazeh as it is called the derech to Olam Habah. Having a nice house in which chesed is done, and that the family will have then elevated spirits causing simchas hachayim to permeate, also enhances service to Hashem “on the way” to eternity.
Now we can understand a deeper meaning in when Yaakov exited from the womb he was holding on to the עקב the heel of Eisav. For even though Eisav had already acquired Olam Hazeh and Yaakov is now entering his territory, nevertheless Yaakov was holding on the heel of Eisav which means he is allowed to partake minimally from this world because it is the pathway to attain his portion which is the Next World. That is why the gematriah of עקב is the same number of words found in the Aseres Hadibros. The message is clear; Yes a Yid can partake from this world but it must be together with the condition that it relates to the upholding of the Torah and Avodas Hashem. Otherwise we bring on the anger of Eisav upon ourselves.
Before Yaakov’s encounter with Eisav, he realized that Eisav will be antagonistic towards him. For during his twenty year stay by Lavan he amassed a massive fortune of materialistic possessions. How is that allowed when any extras of life sustaining materials belong to his own portion? And if Yaakov’s wealth was derived from the berachos he received from Yitzchak, then again he would be angry at him for stealing his berachos.
Because of this fear Yaakov carefully and exactingly sent him a mincha, a gift, a count of 580 animals hoping it would send to Eisav a message of appeasement. Yaakov hoped to reveal to his brother that all his possessions are not extras at all but are to be used to serve Hashem. The Zohar Hakodesh writes that Yaakov had 600,000 sheep acquired during his stay by Lavan which corresponded to the 600,000 men over twenty who left Mitzrayim and who were in the bodies of all the sheep. As you remember, the sheep that became owned by Yaakov happened only because Yaakov made staffs and peeled them to look like the skins of the particular sheep that would entitle his ownership of them and not Lavan’s. The Zohar comments on those staffs and says they were Yaakov’s spiritual tefillin. Although we don’t even begin to fathom the depth of this Kabbalistic interpretation, however it does tell us that the bountiful flock that Yaakov acquired was from the spiritual source of תפילין . Once again we find the service of Hashem together with Yaakov’s wealth.
The Ohr Chaim Hakadosh writes that the count of all the animals in the mincha gift were 580. It is interesting to note that תפילין is also the same gematriah. Yaakov was sending to Eisav the knowledge that his entire flock of animals are from holiness and they are going to be used for holiness thereby making them part of the path to the Next World and are not deemed excess luxury or pleasure.
This theme is throughout the same message that Yaakov tells the messengers with whom he sent the Mincha gift, to relate to Eisav. עם לבן גרתי I lived with Lavan ויהי לי שור וחמור. What is the juxtaposition of these two pessukim? Rashi brings the Chazal that the letters of גרתי also spell תריג which is gematriah 613 corresponding to all the mitzvos. What would Lavan care whether Yaakov kept all the mitzvos or not? The answer is that this information was relevant to Eisav to know that all his material wealth has to do with the 613 mitzvosand they are solely to be used to service Hashem and are not extras. That is the connection to the next passuk says ויהי לי שור וחמור to convey that all these possessions that I have are only to be utilized for theתריג mitzvos.
The meforshim explain that even the Mincha gift Yaakov sent to Eisav was also connected to a mitzvah in the Torah, that of sending the goat, the שעיר, used during the avodah of Yom Kippur, to Azazeil to be thrown off the mountain. An allusion to this is brought by the Ohr Hachaim which says that שעירwhich also refers to Eisav, is gematriah 580. The amount of animals sent to Eisav paralleled the שעיר of Yom Kippur which in the deeper sense as explained by the seforim, is a gift to Eisav and his malach in order that they will not come to prosecute us on this day of Yom Kippur.
Eisav is alluded to in the word שעיר because it means hairשיער and he was born described as כאדרת שער like a cloak of hair and was therefore named עשו finished. However, the spelling ofשער in the passuk is spelled without the letter yud? According to our understanding in this mamar, we can answer that שער is a product of the body which is extra and excess and therefore it is to be cut. Eisav with his excessive hair represents this world which the physical needs of man are found in excess. Yaakov has a part of that world but only a small fraction like the heel of the human body. That is why שעיר which represents Eisav and this world, contain the letter yud which is the first letter of the name of יעקב. It is Yaakov who lives and is attached to both worlds, the world of יעקבand the world of שעיר. Yaakov lives the life of יום השבת the entire week. Shabbos is the day when one can derive pleasure from excess for the mitzvah of the day is עונג שבת. This duel avodah of Yaakov is hinted in the gematriah יום השבת which equals יעקב שעיר.
The hand of Yaakov holding Esav’s heel when they both depart from their mother’s womb, is Yaakov’s announcement to the world that it can and will, become an integral part of his avodas Hashem. וידו אוחזת בעקב עשו the word ידו his hand, also spells יוד, the letter. It is as if the Torah hints to this concept that Yaakov’s letter yud at the beginning of his name, will take part in Eisav’s world of שעיר the world of excess. This is alluded to in the passuk קול דודי הנה זה בא . Behold the voice of my beloved, this is coming. There are two worlds, one called זה and the other called בא, עולם הזה עולם הבא. Shlomo Hamelech says that behold he can hear the voice of his beloved coming from this world and the coming world. It is the Yid who is attached simultaneously to both worlds. But Yaakov is essentially the letter Yud which Chazaltell us represents Olam Habah. Olam Hazeh is only a means and pathway to reach that destination.
Now we can revisit the passuk that tells us that ויקח מן הבא בידו that the gift from Eisav was from what he took in his hand. This that the passuk describes מן הבא בידו is referring to his hand holding on to the heel of Eisav. Everything that Yaakov possessed connected to the Torah and Am Yisrael. The עקב heel of Eisav which symbolizes the minimum partaking of Olam Hazeh, corresponded to the AseresHadibros as we mentioned above. Yaakov would not benefit from this world without this exclusive purpose in mind. This also fits with Rashi’s interpretation that מן הבא בידו means stones for jewelry. Yaakov was relating to Eisav that all material possessions that he owned were likened to jewelry for the purpose to enhance, embellish and beautify the Torah and avodas Hashem. This was the appeasement message that Yaakov sent to Eisav. To achieve this purpose, Yaakov had to send מלאכים ממש as Rashi writes at the beginning of the parsha. The subliminal messages that were in this gift, and their profundity, only malachim would be able to realize and convey them, especially to an Eisav.