Eisav’s game was

To Yitzchak’s taste;

But being blind,

Yitzchak couldn’t see his face.

He touched the goatskins

Yaakov wore,

Smelled Eisav’s clothes;

He was then sure,

Yitzchak had clarity,

Though his sight was dim,

The son to bless

Stood before him.

Yitzchak recognized the scent

From the field he’d prayed in,

For Yaakov’s presence emanated from

Gan Eden.


Yaakov and Eisav

Are the forerunners –

The tzadik and beinoni –

Each a crucial component

Of humanity:

The tents of learning noble,

But, coordinately,

Is sanctifying daily life

With spirituality.


Two great men descended

From the brothers and rewove

The consanguinity

Of Eisav and Yaakov:

Rabbi Yehudah the Prince

And Marcus Aurelius,

The eminent sage,

And the Emperor Antonius.


Rabbi Yehudah solved many problems

With precautious allegory,

Plucking petals from a flower,

Political strategy,

One by one,

Enemies eliminated,

Obstacles to his rule



Aurelius exempted Tiberias

From paying taxes to Rome;

He admired and favored

The Torah scholars

Who made Tiberias their home.

Aurelius aspired to pass

Kingship to his son,

But the Roman Senate

Had a random way

In which kingship was won.

In the Senate, a bird would be released,

There’d be no place she could land

Except on someone in attendance,

Could be the least qualified man

Hostile to succession;

That’s how Rome would confer

Rulership as emperor.

Yehudah brought two men in

To enact a pantomime,

One atop the other’s shoulders,

Who could be thrown down anytime.

The top man held a dove,

The bottom man told him, “Release it,”

Showing Aurelius, while in power,

Could void the practice, cease it.


Hashem wants to reside on earth,

To connect in the deepest way.

Eisav could have held a vital key

If he hadn’t gone astray;

But Rivkah had the vision,

She knew which of her sons

Rightly deserved the blessings;

Prophetic, her actions.

Though Edom throughout history

Is our enemy foresworn,

HaKadosh Baruch Hu

Names Israel

As “My son, My firstborn.”


By Sharon Marcus