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1. A. When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an ex ceedingly great and bitter cry [and said to his father, 'Bless me, even me also, O my father!']" (Gen. 27:34):

B. Said R. Hanina, "Whoever says that the Holy One, blessed be he, is lax, may his intestines become lax. While he is patient, he does collect what is coming to you.

C. "Jacob made Esau cry out one cry, and where was he penalized? It was in the castle of Shushan: 'And he cried with a loud and bitter cry' (Est. 4:1)."

2. A. "But he said, 'Your brother came with guile and he has taken away your blessing'" (Gen. 33:35):

B. R. Yohanan said, "[He came] with the wisdom of his knowledge of theTorah."

So Rome really is Israel's brother. No pagan empire ever enjoyed an equivalent place; no pagan era ever found identification with an event in Israel's family history. The passage—and numerous others like it, which we shall see in chapter 4—presents a stunning concession and an astounding claim. The history of the two brothers forms a set of counterpoints, the rise of one standing for the decline of the other. I cannot imagine a more powerful claim for Israel: the ultimate end, Israel's final glory, will permanently mark the subjugation of Esau. Israel then will follow, the fifth and final monarchy. The point of No. 1 is to link the present passage to the history of Israel's redemption later on. In this case, however, the matter concerns Israel's paying recompense for causing anguish to Esau. No. 2 introduces Jacob's knowledge of Torah in place of Esau's view of Jacob as full of guile.

Apart from the struggle with Esau, Jacob still serves as a model and paradigm of Israel's history. For example, his dream of the ladder to heaven encompassed all of Israel's history, with stress not on Esau but on Sinai.

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