As Iyov said in an earlier post today, "Sometimes things happen that seem to us wildly unfair." I write today as a father of three, including one whom anyone might recognize as an Esau. I cannot imagine having only a single blessing to confer. Nor can I imagine withholding a blessing even from the one I am certain will reject it.
Iyov suggests that "this midrash witnesses Jacob’s advanced nature in being afraid at the awesome blessing he was receiving." On the other hand, I am blind myself to everything about this midrash except how much Esau needs to be blessed.
I did not offer my seed without stockpiling blessings to uphold it. While there is no commandment for parents to honor their children, what child could sustain the obligation of honoring a parent if the prospect of being blessed in return has been withdrawn?
We have some aggadot here (e.g. 3:62) that suggest that we may feel our offspring are better than they are, but that God sees them more clearly. Perhaps. But as I said, I can tell my Esau from my Isaac and, even so, would bless them both. The first Esau was deprived of the blessing and our tradition seeks to make sense of the act of deprivation as if it is forbidden from contradicting it. No! Reject my blessing but never say it was not extended! The offer does not expire. Not as long as either one of us lives.
My Esau, who never mentioned the Name of the Holy One-- should his alienation be affirmed as a frozen state or should he be coaxed to come closer? Has he so quickly been reduced to the status of that disobedient son who has no future in this world or the next that he be denied the possibility of ever being blessed simply because his youthful impetuosity left him unprepared to receive it at its first offering?
Was Esau delayed in applying for his birthright by Satan or by his own fear of the weight of his father's love? When has a son who has not yet learned humility passed the point of no return? When can a father's despair that his son is lost become irrevocable?
What we have studied today neither asks those questions nor suggests that they are worthy of consideration. Am I alone in finding this past strange?