Up here in New Hampshire the story is entirely different. Here, Jews are electrical people, with a particular talent for woodworking. And, to get to the brothers Yaakov and Esav, there are members of the tribe who hunt as well!
Our parasha this week is framed by the contrast between Yaakov, "who sat in tents", and Esav, who had "the hunt in his mouth" (Genesis 25:27-28). Yaakov is presented as crafty and strategic, Esav as rough and tough. Many of the traditional midrashim go a step further. Yaakov's tent is taken as the beit midrash, the house of study. Esav, by contrast, is spiritually and intellectually empty, all power and no soul.
In the early modern period, many Europeans denigrated Jews for being a strange kind of society -- too many intellectuals, too few people who worked with the hands. Of course, it was medieval Europe that had forced the Jews to live that way. But modern Jewish movements picked up the same criticism. Jewish socialism and Labor Zionism wanted to remake the Jews, as modern industrious people who did depend on others to work the land and to build things.
When Yaakov comes dressed up in animal skins with food for his blind father, Yitzchak muses, "The voice is the voice of Yaakov but the arms are the arms of Esav" (Genesis 27:22). To Yitzchak, the combination of the two sets of qualities didn't make any sense. But today, it's the dichotomy that doesn't make sense, or shouldn't.
It's true that Jews are overrepresented in the Wall Street wrongs of the past few years. Some will say that it's Jews living off the real labor of others. That it's Yaakov cleverly trading some stew today for birthright-and-blessing, booming profits down the road. But in New Hampshire you can see that Jews in fact do everything. Your elders and your officials....your woodchoppers and waterdrawers (Deuteronomy 29:9-11).
We're a grounded, down-to-earth community capable of big thoughts, visions, and commitments as well. Maybe what made Yaakov and Esav as youths both so dislikeable is the fact that both were forced to play only one type. From our vantage point, we should be proud if we can have arms like Esav's when they are attached to the voice that would eventually mature inside Yaakov.