Yes, many of us know the story of how fetal Eisav itched to get out when Rivka Imeinu walked past a place of idol worship, while fetal Yaakov itched to get out when she walked by a place of Torah learning.
Also, when Rivka Imeinu went to inquire of Hashem, the Prophet told her that 2 nations wrestled within her womb—"the older will serve the younger."
So it seems like Eisav was born to be bad.
But Rav Miller says that isn't the real meaning.
Esav was very good in some ways—like honoring his parents, for example. Even Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel claimed that he never managed to achieve Eisav's level in honoring his father.
Rav Miller offers examples, then sums it up, affirming that he heard this from his own Rebbe (page 6):
Eisav was a very good person, with a tremendous amount of potential for greatness.
Yet Eisav rejected that role.
Had he embraced it, history would have been completely different.
Here's Rav Miller on pages 6-7:
How sad it is that a person with such potential, such character and talents, should go lost because he won’t accept that.
If Eisav would have executed his role properly he wouldn’t have been any less successful than Yaakov Avinu.
Had he used his given talents – his ruddiness, his gevurah – to help Yaakov, he would have become great no less than Yaakov Avinu.
He would be in Olam Haboh right now, sitting right next to his younger brother, next to Yitzchok and Avrohom and all the tzadikim.
All or Nothing
Even though doing exactly that would've endowed him with tremendous blessing & success, both in This World & The Next, he refused.
He wanted to be the star.
It reminds me of those girls in the school drama tryouts. They love acting. But if they can't be one of the leads, then they don't want to be in the production at all.
Or like the man Rav Miller mentions on page 7, the man who wanted to be president of the kehillah, but instead became vice-president.
Being #2 wasn't remotely acceptable, so he left Brooklyn to settle in California.
Some people are like that (although anyone can always change for the better).
So when his father's blessings showed Eisav that the prenatal Prophecy was coming into fruition, Eisav backed out.
He literally ran away.
They attached themselves to descendants of Yaakov, and they made an excellent destiny for themselves.
But not Eisav.
And Eisav's offspring held on to the idea that Yaakov tricked Eisav out of being the star of the show.
Is that at least partly why the Gospel-believers insist that God replaced Bnei Yisrael with the Gospels & the church?
That movement originated in Rome—Edom, Eisav.
Despite their blatant lack of commitment (even the outright basics like kashrut & circumcision proved too much for them), they insist on Replacement Theory: There's a new chosen people in town.
Is it the Edomite spiritual DNA coming through?
I don't know, but it sounds it's part of the reason.
The Winning Combination: The Best of Yaakov & The Best of Eisav
Then, on pages 10-15, we learn about an descendant of Eisav (the Emperor Antoninus) who behaved as Eisav originally should have and humbled himself to Rebbi.
Antoninus even wrote what Rav Miller called a mussar book—a book available today in English: Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.
Together, Rebbi & Antoninus worked to produce the Mishna we have today. It couldn't have happened through just one of them; the joint effort between the best of Yaakov & the best of Eisav produced a work of eternal greatness.
Despite the dire end predicted for Eisav, Rebbi reassured Antoninus that such an end only applied to those who behave like Eisav.
Antoninus, on the other hand, deserved a much better eternity—and he got it.
Don't Feel Bad about Operating behind the Scenes
Vitally important people, of course, but not great & sagely tzaddikim.
And that's okay.
In fact, that's really good!
We have a lot to accomplish in our own stunning smallness.
When we help great people, we accomplish great things.
Rav Miller discusses this at length in his usual witty way throughout pages 15-18.
On pages 18-20, he switches the discussion to the domestic sphere.
And he's absolutely right in what he says.
L'havdil, we see in politics the powerful role of the wife behind the scenes. For example, Presidents Woodrow Wilson & Warren G. Harding could not have won the American Presidency without their wives (especially Harding).
And President Wilson certainly could not have held on to his Presidency without his wife.
Due to illness, his leadership should have passed on to his Vice-President. But Mrs. Wilson kept things going, wielding so much power that those in-the-know later said that Mrs. Wilson was actually America's first female President.
Neither Mrs. Wilson or Mrs. Harding could have achieved so much power & influence on their own, nor could their husbands have achieved so much power & influence on their own.
BOTH the Stars & Their Supporters Play Important Roles in Life!
Even in the frum community, how many times have you come across stories of people who raised themselves up to create & run their own organization?
That's often the happy ending.
But that's not a happy ending for me personally. That kind of ending makes my stomach clench.
Now, please don't misunderstand me.
I'm GRATEFUL for these organizations!
They fulfill vital needs & I wish them tremendous success.
But for me, the thought of being the Head Honcho and actually managing an entire organization makes me want to crawl under a large blanket and never come out again.
But in this dvar Torah, Rav Miller comforts people like me, reassuring us that helpful participation in lofty goals is more than enough.
We don't have to be the stars of the show.
We can just be us.
And that's really good!
And if you're in the US, you might find Rav Miller's take on Thanksgiving intriguing.