Parshah Highlights Toldot


First Portion

• BEWARE OF THE CYNICS! GOTTA STAY AWAY FROM THOSE PEOPLE!! We learn an important lesson in the first line of the parsha. It says (25:19)” Yitzchak was the son of Avraham”. Then it says “Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak”. G-d goes out of his way to confirm that Yitzchak was indeed the son of Avraham. People might think that he was the son of King Avimelech. For so many years Avraham and Sarah lived together and were not able to produce children. Apparently, right after the incident where Sarah was secluded for some time with the King, she became pregnant. But it was really Avraham who fathered Yitzchak. One of the biggest miracles that occurred when G-d granted Avraham and Sarah a child was that Yitzchak was a spitting image of Avraham, in order to shut down any minuscule possibility that Yitzchak was not his son. G-d went out of his way not to diminish the miracle. The importance of maintaining KIDDUSH HASHEM exalting G-d name and what Judaism stands for is of the utmost importance. Perhaps, we have to maintain the decorum required for that high slandered of spirituality. However one idiotic sarcastic comment by some clown can ruin and compromise the biggest miracle. Unfortunately we are susceptible to believing the cynics. This kind of stuff sticks. Therefore we have to do whatever we can to preserve our religion.

• The Sages say, Yitzchak and Rivka prayed to have children. However, it was Yitzchak’s prayers that G-d heard resulting in Rivka’s pregnancy. Rashi explains, the reason is that Yitzchak was a tzadik ben tzadik, righteous the son of righteous, while Rivka was tzadeket bat rasha, righteous the daughter of wicked. The Taz asks, wait just one minute fellow!! Haven’t we learned that if someone comes from a secular background and becomes observant, G-d listens to their prayers wholeheartedly, more so then one who has been religious all his life? Apparently, Yitzchak’s biggest virtue was the intensity of his prayer. For this reason Rivka, when she first laid her eyes on Yitzchak, (he was in the middle of prayer) she fell off her camel out of awe and fear. She had never experienced someone pray like that.

• From the first moment of contact with Yitzchak, the tone of the relationship was set. It was much different then the open heart dialogue relationship of his parents Avraham and Sarah. In fact when Rivka inquired why she was in such great pain, because of the pregnancy, she did not go to her husband. She went to an outside kabalist whose name was Malki Tzedek, even though her husband was considered just as holy. Malki Tzedek informed her there are two great nations in her stomach. She never informed her husband of her consulting with the great Rabbi nor did she inform Yitzchak of what he said.

• Since Rivka complained of her pain from her pregnancy, she did not merit to be the mother of the twelve tribes in which she was destined to have.

• Yaakov and Eisav are the definition of good and evil. According to the Zohar, they were both born in order to bring the world to the level of the messianic time. Yaakov was to take the good in this world and elevate it to the highest level. Eisav was an ISH TZAYID, a hunter, who used trickery, to capture its prey. He was to influence people through being a fine actor and capture their heart back to G-d. But Eisav did not reach the standard that was set up for him, so Yaakov was assigned both tasks.

Second Portion

• There was a famine in the land resulting in Yitzchak and Rivka moving to Grar, the land of the Pilishtim. Yitzchak actually wanted to go down to Egypt, however G-d refused saying: “you will not leave the land of Israel”.

• It seems like our forefathers had great taste in picking good wives because this is the third time the narratives tells us that our fathers and mothers traveled out because of the famine and our mothers were forced to see the king. They were saved by G-d, unharmed. Personally I have this lingering question for years on the three peat of the similar occurrence. An email response with an answer would be greatly appreciated.

Third Portion & Fourth Portion

• The Pelishtim wanted to kill Yitzchak because he was penniless and poor when he arrived to their land. Then after he became financially successful, they still wanted to kill him. Many commentaries say this was an indication of anti-Semitism. When King Avimelech comes to him and asks that they sign a new treaty, or to re-affirm the one made with his father Avraham, Yitzchak rebukes him and says “You hate me why do you come to me? Avimelech response is one that we have heard through the course of history: “We have done you nothing but good, and we sent you away in peace”. He wants Yitzchak to appreciate the fact that he was not sent to a concentration camp, but was allowed to leave the country after his wells and his land was confiscated (Nachshoni).

Fifth Portion

• The fact that Avimelech came to Yitzchak after all he had done to him and requested a treaty, is somewhat surprising According to the Ramban, his conscience bothered him because he had violated the treaty he made with Avraham and he was afraid Yitzchak’s descendants will expel his descendants in the future.

• We see another incident where there is a difference between husband and wife. Rivka secretly intervenes in giving the bracha to the Yaakov, who was deserving of it.

• We see that in order for a blessing to take place, the person giving the bracha has to be satisfied both emotionally and physically. Yitzchak asks Eisav, “hunt and prepare me a meal that I like, then I will bless you. Then and only then will the bracha take effect.

• Eisav was delayed in capturing an animal for his father because he did not go with his coat. He has this coat from wining a battle against Nimrod. This was Adam’s coat (first man). It had a special devise were animals would gravitate to and then they would be easy prey. Rivka gave this coat to Yaakov to wear so that Yitzchak would not know the difference.

• HAKOL KOL YAACOV the voice sounds like Yaakov. Many commentaries say that a Jew’s power is in his mouth, while the gentile nation have physical power. Perhaps this is the reason Jewish accountants and lawyers are not known for their physical beauty.

• When Yitzchak smelled Yaakov, Rashi comments that he smelled an apple tree from Gan Eden and he Knew he’s giving the bracha to the right son. This kindness that G-d did with Yaakov is reiterated on Rosh Hashana by dipping Apples in honey.

Sixth Portion

• As long as Yaakov’s descendants follow the ways of G-d they will prevail over Eisav descendants. However if they do not follow in that path then Eisav will prevail and inflict pain onto Yaakov.

• “Yitzchak trembled” when he realized that he could have given the bracha to the wrong son. Another opinion says that after Yaakov leaves, Eisav comes in and lets out a shout, letting Yitzchak realize that he really gave the bracha to Yaakov. He realizes that Hashem has a master plan and that it was done for the best. “Yitzchak trembles” because of the thought that he might have accidently ruined that plan by giving the bracha to Eisav. That is why Yitzchak says shortly after that Yaakov should keep the bracha and be blessed.

Seventh Portion

The stage is set for Yaakov to find a wife.

Credit to: Rabbi Avi Matmon