November 28, 2015 – ט”ז כסלו תשע”ו
When Yaakov Avinu sent an appeasement gift to his brother Eisav, he placed the animals in a very specific order. Rabbeinu Bachaya highlights the fact that the sheep were positioned after all the other animals. Usually, sheep are placed at the head as they are the choicest and most desirable. Rabbeinu Bachaya explains that the sheep could have triggered Eisav to remember why he hated his brother in the first place. Yaakov had prepared delicacies from sheep meat to serve his father when he impersonated Eisav to obtain the special blessings appropriated for the firstborn. Now, when he was designing a procession to pacify Eisav, he avoided placing the sheep at the front.
Even though Eisav would eventually see the sheep, Yaakov deliberately held them until the end to minimize as much as possible the negative effect they would have.
If such a slight and subtle reminder can stir up resentment and animosity, how much more so should we be careful to avoid outright insensitivities and harmful remarks. When interacting with others, we must be mindful of the deep sensitivities that lie within each and every human being.