13/14 Nov: Parsha Toldot

Shabbat comes in 3.59pm; goes out 5.03
This week’s portion tells of Isaac’s special love for Eisav and Rebecca’s special love for Jacob. One wonders how Isaac could have been so naive to prefer his son Eisav more than Jacob. After all, Eisav was merely a hunter while Jacob was a thoughtful young man.Perhaps he thought that Eisav would defend the Jewish people against all attacks while Jacob would be the spiritual heir. Eisav would be the leader for the “body” while Jacob would be for the “soul”.

Rebecca did not see things that way. She insisted that there could only be one heir. The body and the soul should not be separated. The soul needs the body to exist in this world, and the body needs the soul to give meaning and direction to its existence.
Rav Ahron Soloveitchik, points out, that Rebecca pushes Jacob to have courage by insisting that he challenge Eisav by taking the blessing from him and putting his life on the line. We know that Jacob eventually learns this lesson for later in his life he successfully wrestles with a mysterious man, and is given an additional name-Yisrael, which means one who is able to fight and be strong.Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Paul Arberman
November 12, 2015