Toledot: Energy Drinks

The lines outside of Starbucks after Hurricane Sandy reminded me of the Esav’s statement in Parashat Toledot: “Give me some of that red red stuff!” (Bereshit 25:30) For centuries, scholars have wondered why Esav so desperately wanted to drink the “red red” stuff that Yaakov had cooked. Nahum Sarna, a 20th century Bible scholar, explained how the description of the Yaakov’s stew as “red red stuff” may indicate that Esav thought that the stew was made of blood. In the ancient Near East, blood was thought to have magical properties. Perhaps Esav, exhausted from hunting, thought that this stew would serve as a powerful and spiritual energy drink.

  • The rabbis often denigrate Esav for grabbing this drink and giving up his birthright. What do you make of Esav’s actions?
  • How has our culture embraced the magical properties of drinks?
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