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This week's 10-Minute Torah (November 6, 2021): "Parashat Toldot" 5782

Parashat Toldot 5782 / פָּרָשַׁת תּוֹלְדוֹת

Read on 6 November 2021 / 2 Kislev 5782.

Parashat Toldot is the 6th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Parashat Toldot tells of the conflict between Jacob and Esau, Isaac's passing off his wife Rebekah as his sister, and Isaac's blessing of his sons

Triennial year 3

1: 27:28-30 · 3 p’sukim ·

2: 27:31-33 · 3 p’sukim ·

3: 27:34-37 · 4 p’sukim ·

4: 27:38-40 · 3 p’sukim ·

5: 27:41-46 · 6 p’sukim ·

6: 28:1-4 · 4 p’sukim ·

7: 28:5-9 · 5 p’sukim ·

maf: 28:7-9 · 3 p’sukim ·

Haftarah: Malachi 1:1 - 2:7 · 21 p’sukim

Like Sarah, Rebecca, Isaac’s wife is barren. Isaac prays and Rebekah conceives. She has two sons, fraternal twins in her womb, and they move around a lot as if they are struggling with each other. She prays to Hashem who tells her there are two nations in her womb, one stronger than the other, elder serving the brother. Esau is born first, then Jacob. Esau is a hunter, Jacob more studious and a shepherd. Isaac favored Esau, who fed him game, while Rebekah favored Jacob. Esau came home one day from hunting while Jacob was making a stew. Esau pleaded with him to have some lest he die from hunger. Jacob bargains with him for the birthright which Esau willingly gives him.

With another famine in the land, Isaac takes his family again to Gerar after Hashem warns him not to go to Egypt. The men of Gerar are attracted to his wife Rebekah who he also claims her to be his sister. Abimelech, the king, sees Isaac and Rebekah flirting with each other and calls Isaac in to admonish him, that his people would again be punished for interfering with a marriage. Abimelech warns his people to leave Isaac and Rebekah alone. Isaac lives in Gerar and thrives and amasses herds and riches, despite the area-wide famine. Isaac has conflicts with the local herdsmen over wells, so Abimelech tells him to take his family and cattle and leave the area. They end up in Beer-Sheba where Hashem appears to him. Isaac builds an altar to Hashem. Abimelech and Phicol, his general, approach him and say that they see Hashem is with him and want to make a covenant with him.

Isaac has aged and wants to bless his sons before he dies. He balls for Esau, his oldest, and tells him to trap venison and make him a meal that he may eat before blessing him. Rebekah hears this and knows that Esau, having married an idolater, does not deserve the spiritual blessing of the first born. She calls in Jacob to have him impersonate Esau by wearing Esau’s clothes and skins to imitate Esau’s hairy body, and then fix a meal of meat. Isaac has lost much of his sight and wants to make sure it is indeed Esau standing before him. Jacob assures him that he is Esau, lets him feel the skin and feeds him the meat. Isaac then bestows the blessing of the first-born upon him. He finishes and Jacob leaves, and then Esau enters his tent. They both realize that Jacob has taken the blessing meant for Esau but Isaac can not take it back. He gives Esau a minor blessing and Esau is resentful of Jacob. Rebekah tells Jacob to flee for fear of retribution from Esau. But Esau has stated he will wait until after the death of his father to take revenge.

Isaac sends Jacob to the house of Bethuel that he might find a wife from their clan there as he did. This would allow him to continue the spiritual lineage created by Abraham to pass along the teachings of Hashem. Esau, meanwhile, went to his cousins, the family of Ishmael to take another wife that would be more pleasing to his parents than his Canaanite wife.

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