That's funny, because initially, it was Yaakov Avinu who needed to run for his life.
And Yaakov really needed to. But Esav did not need to. No one was pursuing him.
The Midrash quotes Mishlei 28:1, that an evil person flees even when there is no one in pursuit.
Esav meets up with Yaakov Avinu, his twin brother who has merited success beyond Esav's wildest dreams.
Even though Yaakov met him with great diplomacy and insight, which mollified Esav to some extent, Esav still came away from their meeting suffering confusion and resentment.
Rav Miller points out that Esav was a Jew. (This is when you could still opt out of Judaism.) He had a brit milah, he'd been taught Jewish values by the greatest people on Earth. He could've stayed with the family, despite the firstborn rights being taken from him.
The Shechinah rested on this family. It was a tremendous & holy family. Yes, Esav could no longer have been the leader of this family, but isn't being an important part of such a family, of such Nation-building, enough?
Had Esav remained, his descendants could have stood at Har Sinai to receive the Torah, says Rav Miller. Tannaim and other great Sages could have descended from Esav.
Esav would have had a part in the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael.
But he left everything behind.
No one chased him away.
But he still left.
Shevet Esav? It Could Have Been, If Only...
On pages 7-8, Rav Miller explains the various letter combinations of the word rasha (רשע) and how it all points to the agitation that bad people often feel. They don't enjoy yishuv hadaat, they don't enjoy menuchat hanefesh, or any of the other positive mental & emotional states that come from emuna & bitachon.
Esav could've chosen the path of Aharon HaCohen, who generously allowed his younger brother, Moshe Rabbeinu, to take the lead. If that's what Hashem wanted, then that's what Aharon HaCohen wanted too.
What was good enough for God was good enough for him too.
Rav Miller quotes the Chovot Halevavot (Duties of the Heart), which states that if you want to be a truly good person, if you want to be a real eved Hashem, then you must develop peace of mind.
On page 9, we glean some solid life advice from Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 10:4:
If you're suddenly thrown into confusion, don't do anything; just stay where you are.
Don't upset your equilibrium any more than it has already.
Keep on going with your life.
Continue to get up in the morning and daven, go to work or yeshivah or prepare breakfast or all the good things you normally do as part of your routine and your responsibilities.
Keep on observing Torah & mitzvot.
Don't let go.
Eventually, the upset will pass – and YOU will remain.
Don't Let Despair Incite You into Becoming a Big Rasha
Rav Miller notes that at various steps along the way, the person could've traced his steps back with no harm (or very little harm) done.
But this person didn't and so he lost out.
Rav Miller uses this to emphasize that even if you do leave your place, so to speak, don't be too embarrassed to come back.
In other words, don't stay down for the count. Get back up again.
Again, Rav Miller quotes Kohelet (7:17): "Don't be a big rasha."
Even being a little rasha is certainly forbidden; even small sins are wrong.
But don't let your small sins upset your equilibrium so much that you throw caution to the winds, decide that nothing matters anymore, and become a big rasha.
Planting the Seeds of Soul-Perfection 5 Minutes at a Time
On page 13, he tells us how we should generally handle bigoted bums, and reminds us of the infamous story of the young Jewish counselor who responded boldly to a couple of Jew-haters...who then proceeded to beat in his skull, yet got off with just a slap on the hand.
There, Rav Miller always tells of the time he was blocked by 4 weasels on the sidewalk. He also tells how women can protect themselves too.
Then he gives the example of how a man coming home should be prepared for anything, even a pail of bilge water dumped onto his head (so to speak).
At first, the man can only hold a pleasant countenance for 5 minutes before he gets caught up in the stress of the situation.
But he starts with 5 minutes and eventually, those 5 minutes expand into 5 hours.
(With working women nowadays, this could apply to them too. But as far as I know, working women do not come home expecting a warm welcome and things being done for them, like a warm dinner waiting and a clean home – unless of course, she is paying a nanny and a housekeeper and a cook to do these things for her. But how many are doing that? Hardly anyone.)
Rav Miller also gives the example of a woman who, upon meeting up with her husband at home, can mentally decide to give her husband some quiet. Maybe she wants to chat or complain or attack, but instead she restrains herself and gives him that quiet space. Maybe she can even empathize with him in her mind.
Rav Miller states that when people (either the husband or wife or both) do the above, "they are planting the seeds of perfection in their soul."
It may not feel like that, especially at first, when you might just be feeling repressed and seething inside with a fake outside.
But really, regardless of how it feels, you really are planting the seeds of perfection in your soul.
The Special Segulah Ring
(The gold itself will eventually pass on too. As they say, you can't take it with you.)
Someone made such a ring for Rav Miller and he always kept it.
My youngest sister-in-law always says with a laugh, "Everything passes. Whether it's good or bad, it all passes!"
I love this idea.
It means that when things are good, you should really appreciate those times because they'll pass.
But take comfort in the bad times – because those too will pass!
(Now I want to get myself a ring like that...)
Who Ends Up Outlasting It All?
And we, the descendants of the ish tam, the brother with perfect character, are still here to tell the story. Yaakov’s children are still around because we are the nation that doesn’t lose its peace of mind.
We don’t move away from our ideals and we calmly make our way through life by means of utilizing our seichel. That’s why we’re still around and it looks like we’ll be here for a long time.
Like Yeshaya Hanavi said, we’re the Am Olam, the everlasting nation.