Toldot 5771 – Making a Name

A couple of weeks late…

The name Esau comes from a root meaning “accomplished” or “complete,” and its characters share the same numerical value as the characters of the word shalom. Yet those things were not in his actual name. Esau was neither complete nor peaceful. Instead he was careless and angry. Red. Edom.

One take-away is the possibility that Esau could have become the man at which his name hinted. In trading the transcendent (his birthright) for the transient (a bowl of stew) he became a sort of reverse spiritual alchemist, turning potential gold into certain stubble. This is the inevitable end of the exceedingly passionate, to be wholly  consumed by their urges.

Passion is a good and powerful force when checked by the Spirit. When it is allowed to run free, it is crippling. Esau, in remaining enslaved to his passions, never approached the complete peace that he could have attained by submitting desire and passion to a higher calling in his father’s house.

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