fragrant clothes

The Zohar explains that Esav's "festive garments" (bigdei hamudot) were taken from Nimrod when he killed him. This coincidentally was the day Yaakov bought the birthright from him, presumably the day Avraham died.

It's interesting to note that Nimrod, Avraham's foil, was kept around until the death of Avraham, when he no longer served a purpose. Presumably it was only because of Avraham's prayers that Nimrod hung around. It's fitting in a way, that Esav, Avraham's grandson, killed Nimrod, Avraham's Arch-nemesis who threw him into the fire.

Anyways, back to the point at hand: Those very clothes that Esav took from Nimrod were the garments that God made for Adam when He exiled him from the Garden of Eden. Nimrod wore them and they transformed him into a mighty hunter. Still, he was no match for Esav who killed him and took the clothes from him.

Later, it's only when Rivkah gave Yaakov the clothes (how did Rivkah have them? Rashi tells us that Esav didn't trust his own wives with them, so he left them with his mother) and he donned them that they gave off a beautiful aroma. Yitzhak smells this and knows that his son, Yaakov, is worthy of the blessings.

Why did the clothes give off a beautiful scent? Because they had finally returned to their rightful owner. What?Yaakov Avinu is said to have the countenance (literally: beauty) of Adam. What does this mean, how could it possibly be? Adam was an other-worldly celestial being! After the sin, Adam was reduced to mere mortal terms and it was this form that Yaakov resembled.

It is for this reason that Yaakov shared the same spiritual nature with Adam that he was able ultimately to rectify the nature of Adam. His descendants all followed in his Godly ways and received the Torah, at which time the stink of the sin was removed from all his future generations.

That's not the end of the story, we know, since the sin of the golden calf followed shortly afterwards. Still, the stink of the sin of the golden calf is nothing compared to that of the sin in the Garden. When the children of Yaakov clothe themselves in the words of the Torah they too give off a pleasing scent before God and draw down abundant blessing in the world. Think about that the next time you don a Talit or a kipah [or cover your hair--married women] or wear nice clothes for Shabbat.

Be involved in mitzwoth. Fill the world with the aroma of the Garden of Eden.


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