To explain Jacob’s behavior when meeting with Esau, the Zohar quotes from Proverbs 12:9
“ טוֹב נִקְלֶה, וְעֶבֶד לוֹ– מִמִּתְכַּבֵּד, וַחֲסַר-לָחֶם”
“Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.”
“וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ–כִּי-אֶת-לֶחֶם אֱלֹהֶיךָ, הוּא מַקְרִיב; קָדֹשׁ, יִהְיֶה-לָּךְ–כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה מְקַדִּשְׁכֶם”
“You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy.”
‘Bread’ is the aspect of Shechina and faith that Jacob had. His father’s blessings promised him control over nations (Genesis 27:29)
“יַעַבְדוּךָ עַמִּים, וישתחו (וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ) לְךָ לְאֻמִּים–הֱוֵה גְבִיר לְאַחֶיךָ, וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אִמֶּךָ; אֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר, וּמְבָרְכֶיךָ בָּרוּךְ”
“May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.”
Before meeting with Esau, Jacob fought the minister of the negative side and won. He could have easily bring Esau and his army down but he restricted. He didn’t want to ‘use’ his father’s blessings and even gave Esau material gifts.
“ קַח-נָא אֶת-בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ, כִּי-חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ-לִי-כֹל; וַיִּפְצַר-בּוֹ, וַיִּקָּח.”
“”Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me and because I have plenty.’ Thus he urged him and he took it.”
In addition, Jacob let Esau lead the way telling him
“יַעֲבָר-נָא אֲדֹנִי, לִפְנֵי עַבְדּוֹ; וַאֲנִי אֶתְנָהֲלָה לְאִטִּי, לְרֶגֶל הַמְּלָאכָה אֲשֶׁר-לְפָנַי וּלְרֶגֶל הַיְלָדִים, עַד אֲשֶׁר-אָבֹא אֶל-אֲדֹנִי, שֵׂעִירָה.”
“Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace of the work which is before me, and the pace of the children. I will meet you at Seir.”
Jacob knew that it wasn’t his time to control Esau and that there is a process for him and his children to go through before the Final Redemption.
Jacob followed the spiritual principle revealed in Proverbs 12:9 above, letting Esau see him low and insignificant so he can come to the time when all the blessings, his father gave him, fulfilled.
The Zohar tells us that this was the wisest act Jacob did against Esau and if Esau had known the ‘trick’ Jacob used, he would have killed himself and not go through that process.
Instead of falling to the desires for the self alone and the pleasures of this world we should have the faith that when the time comes we will have all the blessings that come with connection to the Light. Going for immediate and material pleasures is temporary and ends with death of the soul. It’s better to have faith in the Light and have it all at the time of the Final Redemption.
As the children of Israel, who is Jacob, we inherited his blessings but we still do the work and follow the ‘pace of the children’ he planned for us.
Jacob’s blessings included Genesis 27:28
“וְיִתֶּן-לְךָ, הָאֱלֹהִים, מִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם, וּמִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ–וְרֹב דָּגָן, וְתִירֹשׁ.”
“Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the richness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine;”
‘Dew of heaven’ is the connection to immortality and the ‘richness of the earth’ is from the material.
We can have it all if we have the faith.