The Zohar brings a point that Abraham and Isaac didn’t have to deal directly with the agent of the Snake as Jacob did. Because Jacob is the central column (Zeir Anpin) and connects Upper (Leah, Binah) and Lower (Rachel, Shechina, Malchut), the Snake had to come, attached to him with greater strength.
Abraham was tested by outside forces and experiences. Isaac had a negative older brother, Ishmael, from a different mother, that abused him until he was sent away. Isaac was also tested by submitting his life for the test God had given to his father, Abraham.
Jacob formed the ‘spear head’ to the upper level (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and the spiritual laws required a stronger opponent to challenge him. Jacob was born with and attached to his opponent. He knew that the path of his life and the lives of his descendants wouldn’t be easy.
Even though the seed of Jacob was planted first, he let Esau come out first. The sages reveal another reason. Esau fought with Jacob to go first, threatening to rip his mother’s womb, come out from the side and kill her in the process. Esau had hair all over his body, even a beard and strong nails. Jacob understood the evil behavior and let him go out first.
Esau was connected to the material world like the snake. That’s what was more important for him. Jacob knew that letting go of the material would give him greater spiritual powers and connection.
Esau and Jacob were the aspect of body and soul. Esau was the body and Jacob was the soul. The body always comes before the soul.
God gave the Snake free access to the dust of the earth, releasing him from worries about sustenance. Jacob used a similar way, by letting Esau get what he wanted on the material level so he would get the spiritual blessings and the final rewards. Jacob traded a red lentil soup with intangible rights of the first born, which were blessings not just for Jacob but for all his descendants.
After their famous war and peace meeting (portion of Vayishlach), Jacob gave Esau a lot of gifts and let him go ahead on purpose (Genesis 33:14 ) so he would have the final control over the worlds and the spiritual inheritance of the world to come.
“כִּי חֵלֶק יְהוָה, עַמּוֹ: יַעֲקֹב, חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ.”
“For the portion of YHVH is His people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.”
As the children of Israel, who is Jacob, we inherited the blessings of the world to come. If we let go of the desire and addiction to material possessions then we can connect to the blessings and the rewards on the future. Our strength is spiritual and it gives us the protection of the Holy One Blessed Be He, until the redeemer comes and removes the Snake and his agents from the world.
Even though Jacob‘s priorities were to follow the ways of the Torah, he was rich and protected too.