Sunday, November 11, 2012

Was עשו created as a רשע?

The answer according to the way the Maharal understands Rashi at the begining of this weeks parsha seems to be yes. Rashi on the pasuk ויתרוצצו הבנים, quotes the famous medrash that whenever Rivka passed a house of avoda zara עשו tried to get out. Rashi a few פסוקים later comments on the phrase ממעיך יפרדו

 מן המעיים הם נפרדים זה לרשעו וזה לתומו

From Rashi it seems clear that already in the womb Eisav was a רשע who wanted to worship avoda zara. The obvious question is why?

The Maharal points out that a person has no yetzer hara until he is born. The Maharal ( says

 אבל כאן מה שעשה עשו לא בשביל יצרו אלא מפני שהיה עשו רוצה לצאת לשוב אל מינו וטבעו שכל דבר ודבר מתעורר אל טבעו לפיכך כשבא יעקב לבתי מדרשות היה מתעורר אל רוח הקודש ומתעורר לצאת בטבעו וכן עשו כאשר היתה באה לפני בתי ע״ז ולא משום יצרו הרע.

Basically the Maharal says that Esav wanted to return to his nature (which was a rasha from creation and Yaakov wanted to return to his nature which was קדוש from creation). עשו wanted to worship avoda zara not because of a choice he made but rather because that was how he was created, that was his nature. The Maharal makes a similar comment in Parshas Noach (8,21, bottom of the second column):

ובבטן אמו אפשר לו לעשות מעשה רע ואין לו יצה"ר רק שהוא פועל כך בטבעו לפי שהוא רשע מבטן

 The Maharal says explicitly that a person can do bad things without a yetzer hara but rather because he was created a רשע.  

This raises some very troubling questions.

Isn't one of our fundamental beliefs that a person is NOT born a רשע but has free will? How does this fit in with this Maharal? How else can we explain why Eisav wanted to worship avoda zara in the womb according to the Medrash quoted by Rashi? This also raises questions as to the greatness of Yaakov. If Yaakov was created with a natural instinct to go to the Beis Medrash then he did not choose to be a צדיק but rather was born one, just as it seems עשו did not choose to be a רשע but was born one.

No comments: