Toledot

This week’s reading starts off with the newly wed couple – Yitzchak and Rivkah, praying hard for the birth of children (Bereishit 25:21). As G-d yearns for the prayers of the righteous (Yevamot 64a), they had to pray for twenty years for this, which after this time period, Rivkah finally gave birth to twins, Yaakov and Esav (Bereishit 25:24).

Their prayers for children were answered as they visited ‘Har Hamoria,’ (near where the Western Wall is in modern day era) this was the future sight of the First and Second Temple.

Rivkah had actually been given prophecy by the great sage, Shem (Rashi/ Radak/ Rashbam), he told her that she carried in her two great nations, however both nations will strive towards different goals, one will be proud of its Torah and the other would pride itself on its wealth.

It became apparent as they both reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, they had two different personalities, Yaakov immersed himself in learning Torah and Esav became a mighty hunter.

Avraham passed away at the age of 175 years, on the day of the funeral, Esav came back from hunting (he didn’t realize his grandfather had just passed away) and sold the precious birthright in order to obtain a pot of ‘red lentils,’ which was made for the household of Yitzchak, who were morning the loss of Avraham. Since the traditional mourners meal was a stew of lentils, it was being made (Bava Batra 16b), however, Esav greedily in hunger from just killing King Nimrod (Bava Batra 16b Medrash), was hungry, so he found the precious birthright to be absolute worthless and traded it for this pot of food (Bereishit 25:29-34).

A famine then hit Canaan and Yitzchak realised he needed to escape to Egypt, however G-d informed him that as he was bound as a sacrifice, he had now a holy status and must stay in the Holy Land. He relocated to Gerar in the land of the Philistines, where, to protect his wife Rivka, he informed the inhabitants that she was his sister (Bereishit 26:6). Avimelech, the head of the Philistines realized Yitzchak bent the truth about his status to Rivka, realizing that she was his wife; he immediately warned the whole of his City's inhabitants to stay clear of both of them, knowing how immoral the inhabitants were. The Philistines quickly grew jealous of Yitzchak when he became immensely wealthy, and Avimelech, the king along with his sidekick, Phicol, asked him to leave out of pure jealousness and hatred, as Yitzchak had multiplied over 100 times in wealth and livestock (Bereishit 26:12).

Yitzchak re-dug three wells in the land of Gerar which were dug by his father, Avraham, which in fact prophetically alluded to the three future Temples. The Philistines destroyed the first two wells; however they didn’t touch the third well, alluding to the fact that the first two Temples would later on be destroyed while the third Temple would stand for eternity (Ramban). Avimelech saw that Yitzchak was blessed by G-d, decided to make a peace treaty with him (Bereishit 26:26:33). The Way the Philistines had treated Yitzchak can be viewed as modern day anti Semitism.

When Yitzchak sensed that his end was approaching (he was at that point 123 years old and within five years of the age of when his mother, Sarah, died at the age of 127), he summoned Esav to give him a potent blessing for the short and long term future blessing. In fact Yitzchak, who was blind, was fooled into believing that Esav was righteous, since he did many wicked things throughout his life, the Talmud in fact considers him to have been a rebellious Jew (Kiddushin 18a). Rivka swiftly acted on a prophetic instruction that the blessings must be given to Yaakov. She arranged for Yaakov to impersonate Esav and receive the blessings.

Yitzchak instructed Esav to hunt food for him, so that he would be in a joyous state when giving the blessings so that the blessings would have a powerful affect.

When one is generally in a ‘happy’ state they can receive prophecy if merited to do so. The Gemara (Shabbat 30b) shows a contradiction to happiness in Sefer Kohelet. On the one hand, King Shlomo says (Kohelet 8:15): "And I praise happiness, for there is nothing better for a person under the sun than … to be happy." But prior to this he has a very different approach to happiness and says (Kohelet 2:1): "In regards to happiness, what does it accomplish?" The Gemara answers that there are two kinds of happiness; one is true happiness, whereas the other one is imagined. True happiness, says the Gemara, is connected to the observance of the Torah and Mitzvot, Imagined happiness is not.

Yaakov successfully and deservingly took the blessing (Bereishit 27:28-29), and when Esav in frustration revealed to his father that Yaakov had bought the birthright, Yitzchak realized that the birthright has been bestowed correctly on Yaakov and confirmed the blessings he had given Yaakov (Bereishit 27:33). Yaakov did also give Esav a blessing, an inferior one, a blessing which very much effected the Jews over the coarse of history for better and for worse (Bereishit 27:39-40). Esav then vowed to kill Yaakov, in pure hatred (Bereishit 27:41), so Rivka decided to send Yaakov to her brother Lavan where he may also find a suitable wife (Bereishit 28:1-5) – which we will learn about in next weeks reading.

The Torah reading concludes as Eisav married a daughter of Yishamel, adding to his two other wives, he did this, since he realized that his parents were unhappy that his first two wives were of Canaanite descent, he took a daughter of Yishmael in hope he would ingrate himself with Yitzchak (Rashbam).

This week's Haftorah comes from the book of the prophet ‘Malachi’ and warns us to cherish our relationship with Hashem and never take advantage of it.

This Dvar Torah is dedicated to Ahuva Bat Chaya Chirya who is suffering with health problems, please everyone pray for her to make a full and healthy recovery..

Hope you all have a fantastic Shabbat, Shabbat Shalom!!