The Chizkuni Bireishis 25:8 says at the end of his comment that Esav also did Teshuva. Is there other sources for this amongst the Rishonim and Chazal?

  • A quick search on Otzar HaChochmah brought nothing. As I mentioned in the other comment, the editor of the Mossad HaRav Kook Chizkuni isn't aware of a source.
    – robev
    Dec 10, 2020 at 20:10
  • Seems a little odd: look at their father's funeral. Avraham is buried by "Yitzchak and Yishmael" -- i.e. Yishmael has come to accept Yitzchak's primacy. Whereas Yitzchak is buried by "Esav and Yaakov" -- Esav still pushing to the front of the line. (Well maybe he improved after that point ...)
    – Shalom
    Jan 12, 2021 at 9:27
  • From what I have learned, the resting place of Esau's head, after being beheaded, may be relevant to this question, but I could be mistaken as well. Just putting this as a comment because I am unable to give a good sourced answer to the question. May 23, 2022 at 21:43
  • What was Eisav's sin that he needed Teshuvah?
    – Aaron
    May 2, 2023 at 20:01
  • @ShipBuilding into his father's bosom.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 2, 2023 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


When Jacob met Esau he provided him with gifts. According to Abarbanel (Gen. 33: 1-17), these gifts served as Jacob's blessings. Although Jacob took Esau's blessing from Isaac, he was now bestowing his own blessings onto Esau, making them equals. If Jacob felt that Esau was undeserving of the blessing, he would not have given it to him. Also, a Midrash makes use of the story when Isaac and Ishmael bury Abraham. The Midrash says that Ishmael performed teshuvah, repentance. (Gen. Rabbah 30:4, 38:12, BT Bava Batra 16b). We might also apply this reunion of brothers to the Jacob and Esau reconciliation to mean that Esau also did teshuvah as well.

  • 4
    Chazal learn from here you should give gifts to your enemies in order for them to like you. Meaning the fact that Esav was nice to Yakov showed nothing of repentance, it was just a natural reaction of receiving gifts/bribes.
    – Shlomy
    Dec 13, 2020 at 5:46
  • @Shlomy Good point. Yet again, Esau was more than an enemy. He was a brother.
    – Turk Hill
    Dec 13, 2020 at 19:06

the medrash says when esav married machlass all his sins were forgiven (hence the name mucholl/muchloss)………….said the chebinner rav there is no mechilla without teshuva so he must of done teshuva at that point


I think the Medrash in Beraishis Rabah Chapter 67 [end - 13] does say that he considered to maybe do teshuvah. But I don't think it says that he actually did.

Even if he did, he might of afterwards returned to his evil ways.

Also, there are many different levels of teshuvah. Just like there are many different levels of tzadikim and reshaim. The Medrash is pretty clear that he did not do any major teshuvah, since he kept his other bad wives. Unless you say that that part of the Medrash is arguing on the first part.

The Kook edition of Chizkuni leaves out the part of Eisav doing teshuva.

  • 1
    I know it's not the majority opinion. The Chizkuni is a big chiddush. I was asking if there's other sources besides the chizkuni that point to this chiddush.
    – Shlomy
    Dec 10, 2020 at 3:16
  • "The Kook edition of Chizkuni leaves out the part of Eisav doing Teshuva" more accurately it says that some versions have it but the editor isn't aware of a source, especially in light of Bava Basra 16b
    – robev
    Dec 10, 2020 at 20:07
  • @robev see paneach Raza in vayishlach for dichui of gemara baba basra that esav is a rasha.. perhaps
    – Shlomy
    Dec 10, 2020 at 20:15
  • More accurately, it leaves out the part of Eisav doing Teshuva IN THE ACTUAL TEXT. And in the notes on the bottom it says that some versions have it but the editor isn't aware of a source, especially in light of Bava Basra 16b Dec 10, 2020 at 21:08
  • It is worth pointing out that the Kook edition of Chizkuni was based on the actual manuscript written by the Chizkuni himself, so it is way more authoritative than other editions. It seems a little suspicious that Yishmael is presented in a question and answer form, but Esav is just shoehorned in there with no explanation. That implies to me that this is a case of the classic marginal note being later incorporated into the text by a careless copyist.
    – N.T.
    May 12, 2021 at 9:39

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