Sunday, August 28, 2011

People not Listening to Arguments of "Heads" - just taking them down

Here are some insights of my husband, Raphael Cohen. Maybe he will write up his ideas soon.

When I saw this article, it made me think that messianic times are here

Showdown at Hebron
Jacob and Esau not only shared a set of parents and a birthday; they
were also buried on the same day.

The Midrash relates that when Jacob's funeral procession reached the
Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac
and Rebecca, they found Esau and his henchmen barring their path. Esau
claimed that the sole remaining plot was his by inheritance, after
Jacob had already taken his share when he buried his wife Leah in the
cave. When Jacob's children maintained that their father had bought
out his brother's share, Esau denied this. The transaction had been
put in writing, but the deed was back in Egypt, and fleet-footed
Naftali was dispatched to retrieve it. Chushim, the deaf son of Dan,
asked what the commotion was all about and was incensed to learn that
Esau had halted the funeral of his revered grandfather. With a mighty
blow of his sword, Chushim severed Esau's head, which rolled into the
Cave of Machpelah and came to rest in Isaac's lap, where it remains to
this day. Thus it came to pass that "Esau's head lies in the bosom of


At first, the surrounding nations did not part in the funeral. When
they saw his great honor, they came, and their kings hung their 36
crowns on his bier: Sotah 13a
When the nations first came, it was for war; then they saw Yosef's
crown hung on the bier, and they did as he had done: Sotah 13a
In Egypt, even the animals mourned: Sotah 13a
The story of Esav's attempt to block the burial of Jacob in the cave
of Machpelah, and the role played by Naftali in getting the bill of
sale, and of the deaf Chushim ben Dan in killing Esav. Esav's eyes
landed on Jacob's feet, and Jacob opened his eyes and laughed: Sotah


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Chushim, the son of Dan, was
hearing-impaired. When he saw that the funeral procession of Yakov
Avinu was being delayed, he asked someone why it had stopped. When he
was informed that they were waiting for Naftali to bring the deed of
ownership from Mitzrayim to refute Esav's claim to the plot, Chushim
became very upset and declared, "My grandfather lies in disgrace until
Naftali returns from Mitzrayim?" He took a staff and struck the head
of Esav, killing him.

The Gemara clearly implies that the fact that Chushim was deaf
contributed to his reaction. What difference, though, did it make that
he was deaf? Even those who could hear well would have been expected
to act in that manner when Esav delayed the burial of Yakov Avinu.

(a) The simple explanation is that Chushim thought that Esav was just
making a front, finding an excuse to delay the funeral, and that he
did not have any valid claim since everyone knew that Yakov had bought
the Bechorah from Esav and it was not necessary to bring any document
of proof. Had he been able to hear, he would have heard that Esav's
claim was not for the portion of the Bechorah in the burial grounds
but for the portion due to him as an ordinary son ("Pashut") of
Yitzchak. It was not as well-known that when Yakov returned from the
house of Lavan, Esav sold to him his portion of the "Pashut" as well.

(b) RAV CHAIM SHMUELEVITZ zt'l in SICHOS MUSAR (5731, #32, and 5733,
#6; see also MAHARAL in Chidushei Agados) explains that those who were
able to hear did not become so upset because they heard Esav present
his arguments, and they were able to argue back. As time passed during
the argument, they became desensitized to the fact that a terrible
injustice was being done. Chushim, on the other hand, who heard none
of it as it was happening and then heard about the cause for the
lengthy delay at one moment, naturally became very upset and therefore
reacted the way he did.

Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz learns a tremendous lesson from this. He says
that it is very significant that Chushim was hearing-impaired. The
people present started to negotiate with Esav who was refusing to
allow Yaakov to be buried. However, Chushim didn’t get involved in a
discussion. He saw that his grandfather’s funeral was being disrupted
in a disrespectful manner and that Esav was the cause and so he acted
immediately and killed him. The Yetzer Hara deserves no attention or
discussion, when we see the proper course of action necessary, we must
work fast to act upon it! The fact that it was done by decapitation
will be discussed later.


  1. Fantastic tale !

    Mythology apart, it seems there will be some sort of reconciliation in the end of days between Esav and Yaakov according to Hashem's INFALLIBLE Torah narrative in Bereishit 33.

  2. Wow, that was fast, I just posted it! But may I ask why you say "mythology apart"?

  3. Every culture has it's mythology and superstition, it is natural that Jewish mythology would be woven around torah/tanack narratives.

    However the Torah is the only INFALLIBLE narrative that did not proceed from any human mind -same is true for Hashem's words through the prophets in the tanack.

    Unfortunately this is not ABSOLUTELY true for all others -making them all HIGHLY SUBJECTIVE !

    That doesn't mean the wisdom in the mythology/superstition can't teach life lessons here and there but they are not ABSOLUTE TRUTH. They have severe limitations.

  4. Thank you for your comments! Yes, I hear what you are saying. It depends what we are talking about here. There is "folklore" as it were and stories with different versions that go around, as well as "Mashalim" - stories meant to teach a lesson. But remember that the Oral Law was given together with the Written Torah at Mount Sinai - I refer you to Chapter 8 of Maimonides' Principles as compiled/translated by R'Aryeh Kaplan ztz'l. What providence that I just read it today before you commented!