Toledot I: Oracles
(כג) ורב יעבוד צעיר - ולכך אהבה את יעקב שאהבו הקב"ה וכדכת' ואהב את יעקב: (כח) אוהבת את יעקב - שהיתה מכרת בתומתו וגם ממה שאמר הק' ורב יעבוד צעיר. והוצרך להקדים כאן אהבת יצחק לעשו ורבקה את יעקב להודיע מה שכתב לפנינו יצחק רצה לברך עשו ורבקה הערימה לברך את יעקב. (יג) עלי קללתך - עלי ועל צוארי, כלומר [אל תירא] כי היתה בוטחת במה שאמר לה הק' ורב יעבד צעיר:
At this critical moment in the prehistory of Yitzhak and Esav, Rivkah is privileged to receive a communication from God about the fate of the children in her womb. Seeking the reason for her pain, she is told in Bereishit 25:23 that a transnational struggle is unfolding within her, with the younger child destined to triumph over the older. Rashbam sees the entire subsequent narrative as emanating from this verse, which anchors Rivkah’s attachment to Ya’akov and justifies her machinations to make sure that he emerges as Yitzhak’s true heir. Yitzhak, Rashbam seems to imply, was unaware of this oracle, and, as a result, preferred Esav based on more earthly considerations. Rivkah, aware of the deeper historical implications, favored Ya’akov. This disparity helps fill in the gap in Bereishit 25:28, where we are told, without explanation that Rivkah loved Ya’akov more than ( to the exclusion of?) Esav. Her favoritism was rooted in this divine prediction and her sense that she was to help realize it. It also explains her confidence in Bereishit 26:13 when assuring Ya’akov that she would accept the brunt of any curse that might result from tricking his father—she knew that the plan had to succeed, as it was divinely ordained. Yitzhak, on the other hand, deaf to this oracle (and later blind), follows a different path. We thus have here another classic example of Rashbam’s use of הקדמה, an approach that sees the narrative of the Torah as setting us up for plotlines that will later emerge.