On the verse “And the children struggled within her,” Rashi quotes the famous Midrash which relates that when Rebecca would pass a house of idol worship, Esau would struggle to come out, and when she would pass the yeshiva of Shem and Ever, Jacob would struggle to come out.
In yeshiva I would often hear a question raised on this Midrash. A well know Aggadah in Talmud tells us that a fetus is taught the entire Torah while in the mother’s womb. It is understandable then, why Esau was in such a hurry to get out. But what was Jacob’s rush? What did the yeshiva of Shem and Ever have to offer that he couldn’t get right where he was?
They always offered one of two answers. The first was “es felt in ameilus.” The learning in the womb is not earned, is not toiled over, and therefore does not have the same quality as learning done in this world. The second was that the opportunity to know the entire Torah is worthless when one is stuck with a study partner such as Esau…
I wanted to suggest a third explanation.
Everything Jacob would learn in the womb would be absolute, prophetic truth. In yeshiva he would be able to sit for six months on the same daf, stretching every possible inference ad absurdum. Now, which is more enjoyable?
This works very well with the vort with the agalot and Jacob’s yeshiva in Egypt, v’dok.