The Meeting Point – Answers
We have some difficult questions about Isaac and Rebecca’s parenting skills. (See Parenting – The Questions) The even more difficult question is why Isaac intended, if he actually did, to bless Esau and not Jacob.
Rebecca already knew that hers were children destined to shake the world: “And God said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; two regimes from your insides shall be separated; the might shall pass from one regime to the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.’” (Genesis 25:23)
How do you raise two children destined to battle each other for eternity? Rebecca and Isaac knew even before the twins were born that they would separate into two distinct personalities and approaches from the moment they left the womb. They understood that the twins represented conflict. How can you educate and direct two such children?
Isaac and Rebecca understood that the conflict, the meeting point where the two powerful forces would crash against each other, was necessary for the development of their family and the nation that would develop. The two parents understood the power of the conflict; it was at the point just between them where people would discover and choose, each, his or her, own purpose in life. They chose to raise the two conflicting forces, as just that; two conflicting forces. The energy produced from the clash would empower humanity to evolve and develop.
Isaac and Rebecca nurtured the meeting point between their two sons and their conflicting approaches to life. It was this lesson that taught Jacob how to deal with the Labans, Shechems, and Pharaohs of the world.
Isaac and Rebecca prepared Jacob, and they prepared us: When we are taught that Israel was sent into exile to collect the holy sparks among the nations, it means that Judaism would grow stronger from the clash with other cultures, beliefs and societies. Consider how thousands of Responsa, books and commentaries discuss how to deal with the infinite issues that arise as Judaism confronts new worlds and ideas.
Our mission in exile is not to be perfect, or even to perfect the world, but to draw energy from each and every clash with opposing societies and mores. We thrive in the challenge and conflict, the dialectic, if you would.
The light we are to shed on the other nations is not our light, but the energy and illumination provided from the conflict between different cultures.
We should not and cannot reject everything outside of Judaism as false and empty. We must examine the meeting point between the two forces and learn from the good and reject the bad. We grow from the conflict. We always have, and we always will.
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