Unconditional love

“Isaac loved Esav because he ate his game; but Rebecca loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28)

The actual Hebrew of this verse reads that Rebecca “loves” Jacob, in the present tense.

According to Rabbi Isaiah HaLevi Horowitz, we can understand this verse according to a teaching of our sages in Chapters of the Fathers (5:16). “Any love that is dependent on something will vanish when that thing vanishes. But a love that is not dependent on something will never cease.”

Isaac’s love for Esav is described as contingent on the food that Esav provided – that’s why the love is spoken of in the past tense. But Rebecca’s love for Jacob was not tied to anything, it was unconditional and therefore described in the present, ongoing sense.

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