Mind Hunter (parshas Toldos)

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Yaakov’s middah is emes, truth, and so Rashi parses Yaakov’s misleading words to Yitzchak to make them true at least on some level.  For instance, allowing his father to believe it is Esav to whom he is speaking, Yaakov says “I am Esav your firstborn.” Rashi interjects a presumed pause in the sentence, rendering it “I am [the one bringing you food]; Esav is your firstborn” (Braishis, 27:19).

Yet one misleading phrase still stands out: “Come eat of my hunted [food]” (ibid), says Yaakov, offering his father the goat meat he could mistake for game.  But it was neither Yaakov’s food – his mother Rivka had prepared it – nor had it been “hunted.”

What occurs is that “hunting” is a word we’ve seen earlier, as the Torah’s description of Nimrod, “a powerful hunter” (ibid 10:9).  And there, Rashi explains that what Nimrod “hunted” and captured were people’s minds.  He used words and subterfuge to amass followers.

Perhaps here, too, Yaakov was subtly, slyly “confessing” to his father that he was engaged in a subterfuge, presenting himself as someone he wasn’t, offering his “hunting” to Yitzchak, his ability to navigate a tricky world.  Thereby demonstrating that he, Yaakov, too, was capable of dealing with that challenging world no less than his brother, something that, as the Malbim and others explain, Yitzchak had assumed was not true.

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