|כה וַיֵּצֵא הָרִאשׁוֹן אַדְמוֹנִי, כֻּלּוֹ כְּאַדֶּרֶת שֵׂעָר; וַיִּקְרְאוּ שְׁמוֹ, עֵשָׂו.||25 And the first came forth ruddy, all over like a hairy mantle; and they called his name Esau.|
But what is the implication of this hairy mantle of Esav?
כאדרת : כתרגומו ככלן , והוא מלשון יונית והוא מלבוש עליון המחמם את הגוף (ר' וואלף היידנהיים בהבנת המקרא).
אדמוני: ששערו אדום
. כאדרת שער: מילת אדרת סמוכה לשער (לפי הטעמים ודלא כראב"ע ) כמו ולא ילבשו אדרת שער ( זכריה י"ג ד' ), ואין כל אדרת שעירה, כי אין ענין אדרת אלא דבר המקיף את הגוף ( עיין פירושי בשמות ט"ו ו' ).
עשו: ענינו בלשון ערבית בעל שער.
Thus, his body was entirely covered with a "mantle" of his own red hair. And there are mantles of hair, and other kinds of mantles as well.
However, there might be other implications to this hairy mantle as well. Picking up from the pasuk in Zechariah which Shadal just cited, we see that prophets in general, and false prophets in particular, wore mantles of hair. Zechariah 13:4:
The context would seem to be that of a false prophet. All these prophets will no longer wear their hairy mantles.
Rashi there notes:
a hairy mantle So is the custom of those who entice or draw away [the people], to enwrap themselves with mantles as though they are righteous men in order that their lies be accepted.But, it might be general prophetic custom to wear a mantle. After all, consider I Kings 19:13, as one example:
We could say that this is just an article of clothing, which happens to have this significance in other contexts. And it was chosen here because that is just what he looked like.
Alternatively, we can say that he was like one of these false prophets, wearing the hairy mantle and thus projecting a false aura of righteousness.
Indeed, this fits in with themes developed in certain midrashim about Esav's general attitude, such as his asking how to tithe straw and salt.
Thus, when the pasuk in parshas Toldos tell us:
|כח וַיֶּאֱהַב יִצְחָק אֶת-עֵשָׂו, כִּי-צַיִד בְּפִיו; וְרִבְקָה, אֹהֶבֶת אֶת-יַעֲקֹב.||28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; and Rebekah loved Jacob.|
And indeed, all the midrashim about the coat that Esav wore, inherited all the way from Adam haRishon, which had the smell of Gan Eden, all fits in with this.
Furthermore, it is ironic how Yaakov takes Esav's coat and uses it in exactly this role, to deceive. Bereishit 27:15: