Why does the Torah write the word "Goyim" with two letters 'Yud,' instead of the usual spelling 'Vav' 'Yud'?
Rashi: We read this like "Ge'im" [proud men - wealthy/aristocratic]. 1 This hints at two leaders 2 of nations, Rebbi and (King) Antoninus (descendents of Yaakov and Esav, respectively, who lived at the same time, and who were actually good friends). They had radishes and lettuce on their tables, all year round. 3
Gur Aryeh: What is the derivation? The letters Yud and Alef are interchangeable; it is as if it reads 'Ge'im' (spelled with Alef-Yud, meaning 'proud ones').
Peninim mi'Shulchan ha'Gra: We must expound the word "Ge'im" in this way, for it is not feasible to have nations in the womb.
Moshav Zekenim: But anyone can do so! He answers that they had them in order to digest the food (because it was so much). See also Ba'al ha'Turim.
What is the gist of HaSh-m's message to Rivkah? What is the meaning of, "u'Le'om mi'Le'om Ye'ematz"?
Rashi: HaSh-m is telling Rivkah that two kingdoms will emerge (one from one brother, one from the other), which throughout history, will constantly fight for supremacy; when one is up, the other will be down 1 - never will they be on a par. 2
Ohr ha'Chayim, Malbim: Each is strengthened through the other's downfall. 3
Rashi: Hence, as Yechezkel would later prophesy, Esav reached their zenith with the destruction of Yerushalayim.
Rashbam: And never will one actually vanquish the other.
What is the meaning of "v'Rav Ya'avod Tza'ir"?
Riva #2, Hadar Zekenim #2, Da'as Zekenim, Rosh: The younger will serve [the older] very much.
Ohr ha'Chayim: The one who is Rav (great) at the time will subjugate the one who is small at the time.
Radak: The Torah wrote this ambiguously, without the word "Es," for sometimes it will be one way, and sometimes the other way. Ha'amek Davar - Rav Ya'avod l'Tza'ir would clearly mean that the older will serve the younger. Rav Ya'avod b'Tza'ir would clearly mean that the younger will serve the older.
Rashbam: Rivkah learned from this that HaSh-m clearly preferred Yaakov, therefore she loved him [more than Esav]. Refer to 25:28:3:2. Moshav Zekenim asks, if so, why did Yitzchak want to bless Esav? He did not hear this prophecy. Refer to 27:4:3.
The ball, as it were, will lie in Yisrael's court. It is only when they throw off the yoke of Mitzvos that Edom will rule over them.
How did HaSh-m's reply put Rivkah's mind at rest?
Ramban #1: HaSh-m told her not to be afraid, because the struggling inside her was because she was expecting twins, and that her pains were part of the normal procedure of pregnancy.
Ramban #2: He was informing that the struggling was merely a sign 1 that the two brothers would hate each other and that they would always be at each other's throat. However, that sign was now over, and, from now on, her pregnancy would revert to normal.
Ohr ha'Chayim: He told her that this is unlike other pregnancies. Normally, twin fetuses always have similar natures. This is an exception. The agitation is due to their different natures, and because each is strengthened through the other's downfall; it is not due to a deficiency in her womb.
Ma'aseh Avos Siman la'Banim.'
What do we learn from, "they will separate from the womb"?
Rashi: [Upon emerging] from the womb they will be distinct; Yaakov will separate to his righteousness, and Esav to his evil. 1
Hadar Zekenim: (They will be different from birth.) Yaakov will be born circumcised.
Gur Aryeh: How is this derived? Rather than stating, 'They shall emerge' (Yetze'u), the verse chooses the term, 'They shall be separated' (Yiparedu).
What is the difference between Goy and Le'um?
Malbim: Goy is a great collection [of people]. Le'um is a [common] creed and belief system. They will immediately be two Goyim, and after time, e.g. when Yisrael accepts the Emes, two Le'umim.
Ha'amek Davar: Goy is a nation that rules by itself. Le'um is a nation with a common nature. There can be two Goyim, with independent rulers, 1 but they have the same nature, and they are one Le'um.
QUESTIONS ON RASHI
Rashi writes: "HaSh-m said to her - though an emissary." How do we know this?
Gur Aryeh: If HaSh-m would answer her directly, He could have done so immediately, before she even went to ask the Navi.
Rashi writes: "We read the word "Goyim" like 'Ge'im' - [a hint to] Rebbi and Antoninus." How does this tally with the Mishnah in Sotah 49a, 'After Rebbi died, humility ceased!'?
Oznayim la'Torah: The Derashah here is referring to external pride (a show of his wealth), 1 not to genuine Ga'avah.
Oznayim la'Torah: Rebbi had a full table, and many guests at his table, even though he himself declined to derive pleasure from this world, as the Gemara testifies in Kesuvos 104. (Tosfos to Avodah Zarah 11a).
Rashi writes: "Neither radishes nor lettuce were missing from their tables, in any season of the year." But the Gemara (Kesuvos 104a) relates that when Rebbi passed away, he declared that he did not benefit from this world, even with his little finger?
Tosfos (to Avodah Zarah 11a): Rebbi hosted many at his table [and the others would enjoy it].
Gur Aryeh: Radishes and lettuce are not served for enjoyment. Rather, they indicate honor and distinction [of the people assembled], and this self-perception reflects upon his Nefesh. Refer to 25:23:1.3:1.
Rashi writes: "... These are Antoninus and Rebbi." But the verse seems to be referring to the nations that would descend from them as a whole, not to specific individuals?
Gur Aryeh: This interpretation (of the word "nations" to mean "proud ones") in fact refers to the two nations, Yisrael and Edom, as a whole. They would each possess a more distinguished Nefesh, and therefore they conduct themselves in a more distinguished fashion (e.g. regarding clothing and hygiene). 1 So too, they do not eat like animals, but rather prepare and arrange their food as befits a human being. 2 Rebbi and Antoninus are singled out because they lived at one time and interacted, reflecting Yaakov and Esav themselves. They were the heads of their respective nations; so too each member of those nations reflects these traits, each person at his status or level.
Rashi writes: "When one rises, the other falls." Rashi seems to say that first one nation strengthens, and as a result the other weakens. But the Pasuk implies the reverse - when one nation falls, that causes the other to strengthen? (In the source Rashi cites as well, Tzor took the spoils from the ruins of Yerushalayim.)
Gur Aryeh: It would seem that regarding Am Yisrael, Rashi's phrasing is correct; first HaSh-m raises Yisrael, then the nations fall of their own accord. The Pasuk's wording refers to Edom - HaSh-m does not raise Edom initially; rather, first Yisrael falls, then Edom rises as a result.
Rashi writes: "[Upon emerging] from the womb they will be distinct; this one to his evilness, and that one to his wholesomeness." Yet Yaakov and Esav had similar facial features and voices; why were they so distinct [in character]?
Maharal (Derush Al ha'Mitzvos, p. 60): Their [external] similarities were the cause of their great divergence. 1 To illustrate, the two goats brought on Yom Kippur were completely identical, yet one was offered to HaSh-m, while the other was sent to Azazel. 2
Rashi writes that "Goyim" hints to Rebbi and Antoninus. It is unreasonable that this discusses only one generation in exile!
Toras Moshe: Esav should have received material wealth to support Yaakov, like Yisachar and Zevulun. However, "mi'Me'ayich Yiparedu" - once he was born, he departed from this. It was fulfilled only in the days of Rebbi and Antoninus.
Gur Aryeh: Refer to 25:23:1.3:1.