Week of 10/17/23. Our Torah portion, Toldot, may be translated as “generations,” but can also be understood as “history.” The sedrah begins by explained that Isaac and Rebekkah do not have any children, and Rebekkah beseeches God and asks for an answer to her prayers. The Almighty tells her that two nations are in her womb, and the younger will ultimately supplant the older. So Esau is the first born, and Jacob comes out, holding onto the heel of his brother. Isaac favors Esau, the hunter, and Rebekkah favors Jacob, who stays at home, and according to the midrash, studies in his tent! As we remember, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentils. Later Esau brings ‘tsourus’ to his father when he marries a Hittite woman.
As the story unfolds, we have the famous scene where Rebekkah and Jacob trick their father and allow Isaac to pronounce the special blessing for the firstborn son, and give this to Jacob, who is dressed in strange, smelly clothing. Esau discovers this ruse and vows to kill his brother, if he is able to find him. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry.