Toldot

Toldot: The Strength of Yitzchak

Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Avraham, the master of hospitality, is the exemplar of chesed, loving-kindness. Yaakov, who learned the effects of mistruth the hard way, is identified with the trait of emet, truth. While practicing distortions, even if legitimate, he suffered his whole life from the deception of others; yet Yaakov is our role model for the faithful, honest employee, giving heart and soul to his unscrupulous boss Lavan.

Toldot: All My Children

It is hard to imagine a more disparate couple than Yitzchak and Rivka, the quiet contemplative husband who would "meditate in the fields" (24:63), and the worldly, independent-thinking wife who “ran again to the well” (Breisheet 20:24). Yitzchak spent his entire life in the land of Israel, never traveling the world. He was, as our Sages describe him, "a pure offering", ready to sacrifice himself to G-d. He could see no evil in others, and thus could be easily fooled by both Eisav and Yaakov.

Toldot: A Wonderful Sin!

"When Eisav heard his father’s words he let out a most loud and bitter scream" (27:34). Our Sages sensitive to even minor failings of our Biblical heroes, coupled with their keen textual analysis saw a parallel between this verse and one appearing well over a thousand years later. "And he [Mordechai] let out a loud and bitter scream" (Esther 4:1). The pain and suffering caused to Eisav by Yaakov would cause his descendants under Persian rule to bear great pain and suffering. Our actions, for better or worse, do ultimately bear consequences.

Toldot: And He Grew Up

"Vayigdal Haish, and the man grew up and grew more and more, until he became very big" (Breisheet 26:13). At first glance, this is a very strange verse. The Torah has just described Yitzchak's and Rivka's move to Gerrar (Yitzchak's place of birth[1]) and the great wealth he acquired there. This move occurred after Eisav's sale of the birthright to Yaakov--an event that happened many years after the Torah, using the same terminology, tells us "vayigdelu hane'arim, and the young men grew up" (25:27).

Toldot: Blind Love

How sad when parents do not understand their children, and are unaware of what they’re up to. Either through purposeful ignorance or just plain being clueless, it is not uncommon for parents to be unaware that their children are drinking, on drugs, or engaged in illicit sexual activity. Even great parenting and great efforts cannot ensure that we are fully aware of our children’s whereabouts at all times.
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