A Guide to Eating Red Meat and the Main Advice for Dealing with Esav
“….and hunt me some game.” (27:3)
The Kli Yakar notes that it seems kind of odd to send your beloved son out to hunt among wild animals when you have a large domesticated flock of quality meat just waiting to be shechted right there at home.
The Torah is teaching us the right attitude and approach toward meat – specifically red meat, as opposed to poultry.
The Kli Yakar points out that all the predatory animals and birds subsist primarily on meat and are known for their cruelty. (To illustrate, contrast lions with cows and hawks with parakeets.) He quotes Devarim 12:20-22: “You may eat as much meat as you desire…. However, you may eat it as you would eat a deer or gazelle; so shall you eat it.”
Because of the dangers and difficulties inherent in hunting, the Kli Yakar notes that game meat cannot be eaten often - which he understands to mean that it should not be eaten frequently.
So do not habituate yourself to eating red meat regularly since it leads to cruelty and evil traits in a person…. For this reason, it says that in the future 'the lion will eat straw like cattle' because there will be peace in the world among all living creatures.
“The voice is Yaakov’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esav.” (27:22)
The Kli Yakar refers to Midrash Rabbah, which says that Yaakov (the Jewish people) “chirps” (mitzaftzef) with his voice – “chirping” being an allegory for the Jews learning Torah or praying.
And our Sages derived from this verse that as long as Yaakov “chirps” with his voice, the hands of Esav can have no authority over him.
The Kli Yakar emphasizes that Esav’s blessing cannot be in effect as long as Yaakov “chirps” with his voice – as long as the Jewish people are engaged in prayer (praise, gratitude, and pleading) and Torah study – then that voice will prevail over the “hands” (hands symbolizing involvement in the material and physical world).
Rather, certainly the reason he preceded the voice of Yaakov to the hands of Esav is to teach you that the “voice” takes precedence over the “hands.”
And what voice is this?
You must submit that it is the voice of Yaakov in the study halls.
(To me, this implies prayer and Torah study being performed in a special way with a kind of tune or melody or song – as it seems today, in that there is a certain learning niggun and that many prayers are sung.)
Ultimately, the Jewish voice is supremely powerful. We must be careful with our voice and, especially in these harsh times, to use it with uplifting spirituality as much as we can.
“It will be when you will be aggrieved, you will cast aside his yoke….” (27:40)
The Kli Yakar discusses the well-known concept that Yisrael and Yaakov cannot be together in authority; one must always be down while the other is up.
Then he concludes:
All this implies that Esav will be judged for subjugating Yisrael since he was not given permission to subjugate him, but only to throw off his yoke from upon his neck.
[Emphasis mine - D.]
(Note: It’s Rabbi Elihu Levine’s excellent translation that appears in this post. It’s a wonderful book with beautifully readable Hebrew and English fonts that include the Torah text, Rashi, and the Kli Yakar in Hebrew alongside Rabbi Levine’s marvelous translation of the Kli Yakar in English. It is footnoted with outside sources and explanations of what the Kli Yakar mentions in his commentary. The Kli Yakar’s style and Rabbi Levine’s translation are also conducive to just sitting down and reading it through. Only Bereishit I (Beresheit – Toldot), Shemot I, and Shemot II are available in English, but I highly recommend them. They’re available at Feldheim and Ohr Hachaim and I don’t know where else. What I post here is only a drop of the beautiful insights and lessons the Kli Yakar presents.)
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz (1550-1619) lived in Bohemia (which today are Poland and Czechoslovakia). He served as rabbi and dayan and wrote several books, the most well-known being his commentary on the Chumash known as the Kli Yakar.