June 15, 2024


Free For All Food

Steering Isaac’s Blessing | Alexander I. Poltorak

And Rebekah spoke unto Jacob, her son, expressing: “Behold, I read thy father discuss unto Esau thy brother, declaring: Convey me venison, and make me savoury meals, that I could take in, and bless thee in advance of the Everlasting right before my demise. Now, thus, my son, hearken to my voice in accordance to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two great little ones of the goats and I will make them savoury foodstuff for thy father, this sort of as he loveth and thou shalt carry it to thy father, that he may possibly take in, so that he might bless thee in advance of his death.” My father perchance will experience me, and I shall feel to him as a mocker and I shall provide a curse upon me, and not a blessing.’ And Jacob reported to Rebekah his mother: “Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy person, and I am a easy man.” (Genesis 27:6-12)

This Torah part offers numerous complicated issues. According to custom, our patriarchs and matriarchs ended up the most righteous of folks. What are we to make of Rebecca’s conspiring with Jacob to deceive her husband—Jacob’s father—Isaac in get to steal the blessing intended for her other son, Esau? Moreover, in accordance to Kabbalah, Jacob was the embodiment and personification of the sefirah of Tiferet, which signifies attractiveness, mercy, harmony, and truth of the matter. We might have anticipated a person who personifies the class of reality to recoil from his mother’s proposal to deceive his father. Nonetheless, he raises no moral objections to her suggestion. Jacob’s only objection is that he may perhaps get caught in the act and get the reverse of a blessing. At 1st blush, this appears to be not a conscientious objector posture, but one of a coward. How are we to have an understanding of this quite troubling account?

The inquiries do not quit in this article. When Jacob arrives to his father, Isaac, impersonating Esau, the Torah documents the next dialog:

And he came unto his father, and said: “My father” and he explained: “Here am I who artwork thou, my son?” And Jacob claimed unto his father: “I am Esau thy first-born I have completed in accordance as thou have spoken to me. Occur, I pray thee, sit and consume of my venison, that thy soul might bless me.” (Genesis 27:18-19)

Commenting on this account of Jacob’s obvious deception, Rashi states, “I am…Esau…your firstborn: [He meant]: I am the 1 who is bringing you [food], and Esau is your firstborn.” Rashi is the foremost classical commentator. Is Rashi seeking to justify Jacob’s lie by indicating that, technically, Jacob did not lie? In accordance to Rashi, 1st Jacob claimed “I am,” meaning “I am the 1 who brings you the food” and then Jacob extra, “Esau is thy initial-born”—both are factually exact statements. This seems pretty Clintonesque. Whom was Rashi kidding?

An further puzzle arrives as the hoax is uncovered. Here is the dialog involving Esau and his father, Isaac:

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and reported: “Who then is he that hath taken venison, and introduced it me, and I have eaten of all ahead of thou camest, and have blessed him? Yea, and he shall be blessed.” (Genesis 27:33)

Upon knowing that Jacob tricked him by impersonating Esau, why didn’t Isaac revoke his blessing, but rather reaffirmed them—“Yea, and he shall be blessed”?

Quite a few a commentator struggled with these questions. Intrigued viewers are directed to read through classical Torah commentaries[1] for various proposed explanations. Right here is how this troubling narrative can be browse by means of the prism of quantum physics.

As I discussed in my before essay, “The Entangled Twins,” Jacob and Esau ended up “entangled” as twin brothers.[2] Just as two entangled particles in quantum mechanics stand for a solitary technique explained by a one wave operate, twin brothers are also a single procedure called “twins.” As also mentioned in “The Entangled Twins,” they shared a symmetry, this sort of that the brothers are “interchangeable”—if we had been to swap them, the sum-whole would be the similar. As outlined, this symmetry permits Jacob to current himself as a substitute of his brother, Esau.

But let us begin with Rebecca—the mastermind of this intrigue. When pregnant, Rebecca acquired a prophecy:

And the Everlasting stated unto her: Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels and the one people today shall be more robust than the other persons and the elder shall provide the youthful. (Genesis 25:23)

Rebecca feared that Isaac, unaware of this prophecy, would set Esau previously mentioned Jacob (as, indeed, Isaac meant to do when he place Jacob the lord more than his brother, contemplating that he was blessing Esau). She understood that Esau, a wild guy who spent his times searching animals and chasing girls, was not suited for such a management purpose. Esau experienced large potential, which Isaac saw and needed to harness. Having said that, Rebecca realized from the prophecy she gained that this opportunity would not be recognized right up until the finish of days. She understood that it was Esau who was destined to serve Jacob.

Rebecca felt justified in masterminding the ruse as carrying out God’s will, to which she was privy, but her spouse was not. From her point of view, she was not encouraging Jacob to steal his father’s blessing she was merely steering Isaac’s blessing in the proper path. Furthermore, intuitively sensing that two brothers were “entangled,” she did not see just about anything erroneous with substituting 1 twin brother for a different, knowing that, as an entangled pair, they will both equally get the father’s blessing. Nonetheless, the one particular obtaining the blessing would be place in advance of the other brother—which was her objective in carrying out God’s will.

Jacob did not object to this ruse on ethical grounds for the same reason—he was content to acquire his father’s blessings on behalf of himself and his brother. His mother will have to have instructed him of his future as the future head of the family members, which may possibly be why Jacob bought the birthright from his older brother.

What was Jacob’s concern? He realized his father was blind. He expected that when he brings foods to his father, Isaac would see a son but know not which son (which was in truth what transpired). Hence, in the blurry eyesight of Isaac, that unknown son would be, as it ended up, in a superposition of two “states”—Esau and Jacob. Jacob feared that, if his father touched him, his father would “collapse the wave function” (any measurement or observation collapses the wave operate), collapsing the condition of superposition to a single state. Isaac would recognize that it was Jacob who stood in front of him. That could elicit the reverse of blessing, Jacob feared.

We can also recognize in the similar vein Jacob’s response to his father’s question, “Who artwork thou, my son?” And Jacob explained unto his father: “I am Esau thy initial-born.” As Rashi points out, Jacob makes two statements here: one—“I am” and the second—“Esau thy initially-born.” Since Jacob views himself as a element of the whole—the entangled twins—he tells his father that he was there not only on his behalf (“I am”) but also on behalf of his brother (“Esau thy very first-born”).

Nonetheless, as Jacob envisioned, Isaac preferred to touch him. Rebecca’s trick of masking Jacob’s hand with goat’s skins labored, and Isaac did not acknowledge Jacob. But Isaac intuitively sensed the presence of both equally sons in the room, as he mentioned: “

The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the palms are the fingers of Esau. (Genesis 27:22)

So, Isaac acknowledged the “entanglement” of the twin-brothers, as it had been. As Rebecca envisioned, Isaac put the son in front of him over his brother. Nevertheless, as a substitute of Esau, it was now Jacob who was place in the management posture.

We can now also have an understanding of the dialog between Isaac and Esau, when Isaac realizes the ruse but reaffirms his blessing to Jacob all the exact same: “Yea, and he shall be blessed.” Isaac may well have intuitive realized that, by touching Jacob, he had “collapsed” the wave operate (as Jacob predicted), as it had been. There was no going back again. At the time he appointed Jacob as the head of the spouse and children, it could not be undone—one are not able to un-collapse the wave functionality.

As we see, the logic of quantum mechanics sheds new gentle on this biblical narrative, not only conveying difficult verses, but also Rashi’s commentary that if not may look disingenuous.

Does it necessarily mean that Isaac, Rebbeca, and Jacob understood about the superposition of states, entanglement, or the collapse of the wave function? Of course not! These terms were not in their vocabulary, and the formalism of quantum mechanics would not be made for another 4 thousand decades. Apart from, we use these phrases metaphorically in any celebration. Nevertheless, it may perhaps signify that they intuitively followed Torah’s inner logic, which is compatible and structurally parallel with the logic of quantum mechanics.



[1] The most detailed assortment of classical biblical commentaries is found in the Mikraot Gedolot, that is, “Great Scriptures,” in some cases referred to in English as the “Rabbinic Bible,” is the Biblical textual content with classical Rabbinic commentaries of Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, Rashbam, Tosafot, Or Hachaim, ibn Ezra, Rada”k, Nachmanides, Gersonides, Ba’al Haturim, Sforno, Siftei Chakhamim, The Bratinura, Kli Yakar, Abrabanel, and Joseph Kara.

[2] In this context, we use the quantum-mechanical term, “entangled,” metaphorically. Having said that, it is doable to assemble a conceptual Hilbert area exactly where twin brothers would be explained by a solitary wave functionality and, therefore, entangled in the literal sense.