06 Toldot

וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־יִצְחָק׃

This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham begot Isaac.

Shabbat

Name

Parasha

Haftora

Brit Chadasha

November 18, 2023

Toldot
“Generations”

Genesis
25:19-28:9

Malachi
1:1-2:7

Rom. 9:6-16
Hebrews 12:14-17

 

TOLDOTParashat Toledot opens in life and closes with the threat of death. Having wrestled with infertility, Rebekah and Isaac finally give birth to Jacob and Esau. Far from being an uneventful pregnancy, Rebekah becomes troubled by a feeling of “struggle” in her womb and goes to inquire of God. God tells Rebekah that two nations are in her womb and that one of those nations will serve the other, is the saga of our somewhat dysfunctional ancestral family continues, and included within is one of the family’s saddest and most poignant episodes. Yitzhak, implant of the family and heir to his father’s covenant with God, has just married at the age of 40. He and his wife, Rebecca, remain childless for 20 years, when, in response to his entreaties to God, she conceives.

Toldot, reflects the tension in human interaction and in the text, itself. Esau and Jacob are described in sharp contrast to one another. Although having such clear differences between the brothers may have made things simple in some ways, this lack of imagination created opposition and contributed to pain and tension within the family. When you think of Isaac, can you imagine him smiling? Although he was named for laughter (Yitzhak “Laughter”), few biblical characters lead a sadder life. Rivaled by his brother, nearly killed by his father, and left bereft at the death of his mother, Isaac never has it easy. He loves Rebecca, but her initial barrenness causes them sorrow, and starting with her pregnancy there is constant strife in their home.

The challenge in each of our lives is to recognize and value “tomorrow’s blessing.” We cannot simply live our lives in the moment. Ephemeral pleasures often give way to long-term suffering. Unlike Esau, we must come to recognize that some things are far more valuable than physical satisfaction.