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    This week’s parsha
    contains the story of
    Yakov and Eisav, the
    two brothers who
    went their different
    ways. Yakov was
    righteous and Eisav was wicked.
    The Rabbis teach that although Eisav
    was wicked, there was one thing that he
    did extremely well. His performance of
    the command to honor parents was
    exemplary. He was a ‘chosid’ at
    performing this mitzvah.
    The Medrash Rabbah records that the
    Tanna, Rabban Shimeon ben Gamliel,
    bemoaned the fact that although he
    served his father his entire life, his actions
    did not measure up to even one percent of
    what Eisav did for Yitzchak, his father.
    “When I served my father, I served him
    in my regular, dirty clothes; but when I
    went out in public, I would wear clean
    (e.g. — distinguished) clothing. However,

    Eisav would only serve his father wearing
    royal clothing as if he was serving a
    Rav Shimeon ben Gamliel was
    bemoaning his inability to serve his
    father properly. The Succas Dovid asks a
    simple question: there was an easy
    solution — Rav Shimeon ben Gamliel
    should have simply worn his good
    clothing when he served his father!
    The answer is that Rav Shimeon ben
    Gamliel was not bemoaning his inability
    to wear good clothing. He was bemoaning
    the attitude difference between Eisav and
    himself. He certainly could have worn
    good clothing, but that would have been a
    hollow act. Eisav wore royal clothing for
    his father because he sensed that he was
    dealing with a king when he dealt with
    his father. Rav Shimeon ben Gamliel was
    not bemoaning the fact that he was
    missing the clothing — he was bemoaning
    the fact that he was missing the sensitivity
    and emotion that Eisav felt for Yitzchak.

    We can, in fact, interpret the Talmud in
    Yoma [47a] in the same way. The Talmud
    records that Kimchas had 7 sons who all
    became High Priests. She attributed this
    merit to the fact that “all my life, the
    rafters of my house never saw my hair”.
    She was so modest that even in the
    confines of her own home, she never
    removed her hair covering.
    The Talmud comments, “Many women
    attempted to imitate Kimchas, but they
    did not have her success”. Why? The
    answer is the same.
    It was not covering her hair per se that
    produced High Priests. Modesty is a
    reaction to an inner feeling that “I am in
    the Presence of G-d”. If a [married]
    woman would feel that she is always in
    the Presence of the Master of the World,
    then she would naturally never uncover
    her hair. But the act of simply covering
    the hair in the total privacy of one’s
    home, when it is not because of the
    feeling of “I have set Hashem before me

    always…” [Tehillim 16:8] is merely a
    hollow act which will not produce High
    This is a concept that we must
    contemplate. Sometimes there are things
    that we do that cause us to feel good and
    right and religious. Yet, we must ask
    ourselves — are we just doing the act, or
    are we doing that which is behind the act?
    It is not good enough to merely wear
    clothes or to do things that perhaps make
    us look more religious or feel more
    religious. We need the emotions and the
    feelings behind those acts to be the
    inspiration for the feeling of religiosity.