Post: From a comment by E-man on a previous parshablog post::
I simply do not understand the idea that Esau hid his wickedness from Yitzchak. The pasuk tells us that the women he married were a source of torment to both Yitzchak and Rivka and this was before Yitzchak wanted to give him the blessing. Breishis 26:35.This, I should probably note, is one place in which Chazal and DH scholars are in agreement. The DH scholars point to the pasuk preceding Yaakov taking the blessing:
How is it justified to say Esau was tricking Yitzchak. The Torah explicitly tells us that Yitzchak knew he did inappropriate things, but still wanted to give him the blessing.
and then point to Rivkah's words to her husband giving a reason for Yaakov to go to Charan:
|מו וַתֹּאמֶר רִבְקָה, אֶל-יִצְחָק, קַצְתִּי בְחַיַּי, מִפְּנֵי בְּנוֹת חֵת; אִם-לֹקֵחַ יַעֲקֹב אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת-חֵת כָּאֵלֶּה, מִבְּנוֹת הָאָרֶץ--לָמָּה לִּי, חַיִּים.||46 And Rebekah said to Isaac: 'I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?'|
which is followed in the next pesukim with Yitzchak's command to Yaakov:
and they place all these into one strand, and one reason for Yaakov going to Charan. They consider the taking of Esav's blessing and fleeing the murderous Esav to be a second, parallel reason, from a different strand. And so they would say that you cannot ask from one strand upon the other.
Meanwhile, we would regard the text as a whole, and so take Rivkah's speech to Yitzchak, while based in true motivations, to contain more than a bit of dishonesty, as she does not tell him of Esav's intent. So maybe we should also consider this bitterness of spirit to represent a realization by Yitzchak that Esav is not such a good fellow? Maybe, but this does not seem to be the position of Chazal. Is there any way to account for this?
One thing we can suggest is that marrying a local, non-Haranite girl does not necessarily represent evil intent. Consider Avraham's exchange with his servant:
which might be interpreted as a conditional cancelling of the oath from above that:
|ג וְאַשְׁבִּיעֲךָ--בַּיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וֵאלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ: אֲשֶׁר לֹא-תִקַּח אִשָּׁה, לִבְנִי, מִבְּנוֹת הַכְּנַעֲנִי, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי יוֹשֵׁב בְּקִרְבּוֹ.||3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.|
If so, even Avraham was willing, in certain circumstances, to have his son Yitzchak marry a Canaanite woman. This obviously wasn't the preference, but it does not mean that it was an absolutely evil thing to do. Further, who did Yehuda marry, on a peshat level? Was she not a daughter of the Canaanites? And there are conflicting opinions in midrashim whether the shevatim in general married Canaanite girls or whether they married their twins.
It was either the fact that he married them, or perhaps the actions of these women brought into the family, which was a source of bitterness of spirit. But consider what Chazal say about Shlomo Hamelech. The pasuk in I Melachim 11 states:
and Chazal say that this does not mean that he himself sinned, but that his wives sinned in idolatry, but it was reckoned to him. Be that as it may, the actions of his wives need not mean that Yitzchak was therefore aware that Esav himself was a bad guy.
Indeed, the pesukim, cited above, reveal that when Esav saw that this was his parent's preference, he followed in likewise manner and took a daughter of Yishmael, thus marrying into family. It certainly seems that prior to this, his parent's displeasure was not manifest, such that it was not clearly expressed that this was wrong conduct.
I would add that according to Midrash Tanchuma, it might well be that Yitzchak was not upset about the Chittite women. Rather, their actions caused the Shechina to depart, and that was what pained Yitzchak:
ותכהין עיניו מה כתיב למעלה?
ותהיין מרת רוח ליצחק, ואח"כ ותכהין עיניו, מפני הכעס שהיה מכעיסו, לפי שהשכינה הייתה שרויה בביתו של יצחק, עמד עשו ונטל מבנות כנען והיו נשיו מעשנות ומקטרות לעבודה זרה שלהם, ונסתלקה הימנו שכינה מיצחק, והיה רואה יצחק ומיצר.
אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא: הריני מכהה את עיניו, שלא יראה ויוסיף צער, לפיכך ותכהין עיניו.
וא"כ למה לא כהו עיני רבקה?
אמר רבי אבוה:
משל למה הדבר דומה? למי שהיה טעון כלי עצים וכלי חרס, הקיש כלי עצים לכלי עצים לא נשבר, הקיש כלי עצים לכלי חרס נשבר כלי חרס.
אף רבקה, לפי שהקישה לה נשי עשו שנבראו מן העצם כמותה לא הזיקוה, אבל יצחק שהיה מן העפר הזיקוהו, שנאמר: וייצר ה' אלוהים את האדם עפר (בראשית ב), הזקין מהרה וכהו עיניו.
Furthermore, it even seems that this Shechina departing meant lack of clarity for Yitzchak, though Rivkah (according to the midrash) retained her prophetic level and clarity. So, rather than this being a reason for Yitzchak to know the level of Esav, it would be a reason for him not knowing.
That might address the question from above. Yet we still don't see what Chazal saw. Why should they label Esav a deceiver. To cite one relevant pasuk and Rashi:
|28. And Isaac loved Esau because [his] game was in his mouth, but Rebecca loved Jacob.||כח. וַיֶּאֱהַב יִצְחָק אֶת עֵשָׂו כִּי צַיִד בְּפִיו וְרִבְקָה אֹהֶבֶת אֶת יַעֲקֹב:|
|in his mouth: As the Targum renders: into Isaac’s mouth. The Midrashic interpretation is: with Esau’s mouth, for he would entrap him and deceive him with his words. — [From Tanchuma, Toledoth 8]||בפיו: כתרגומו בפיו של יצחק. ומדרשו בפיו של עשו שהיה צד אותו ומרמהו בדבריו:|
The post is long enough as it stands, though. Bli neder, I have plans to explore this idea in a later post.