This week’s sedra opens with the famous episode of Eisav selling his birthright to Yaakov.
At a closer look, Eisav’s fear of assuming this responsibility seems somewhat reasonable. As Rashi describes, Yaakov informs him that this position of responsibility is fraught with danger. There are many risks and penalties if not performed correctly.
Why are Chazal so critical of Eisav?
Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that shirking responsibility and passing up opportunities is disdained by the Torah.
When opportunity knocks and you ignore the call, it is considered a disgrace.
There are several examples of this. A famous one is Ploni Almoni in Megilas Rus. His choice of not marrying Rus casts him into eternal anonymity.
And in more recent times, we have examples of people rising to the challenge. Rav Dessler answering R’Dovid Dryan’s letter and offer to start the Gateshead Kollel.
It was in this kollel that Dayan Ehrehtreu learned and developed into the outstanding talmid chochom we all knew and loved.
The Dayan led Anglo Jewry with warmth, wisdom, and dignity, firmly anchored in Torah values.
He was a staunch supporter of Hasmonean and genuinely cared about our school. Both the Dayan and the Rebbetzen graced various occasions in school with their trademark majesty and presence.
The Dayan always heard the call and took responsibility. He was never one to shirk his duty. He touched the lives of so many of us in so many ways.
That is the contrast. Eisav walking away from responsibility and the legacy of the Dayan, of a life well lived, one of service and selflessness.
On behalf of everyone at Hasmonean, we wish the Rebbetzen, the family and the Dayan’s many admirers much nechama and strength.
Rabbi J Golker