Click HERE to access our Parashah Summary Archive with week-by-week summaries and study questions
Toldot ~ 5775 ~ תולדות
Isaac was 40 when he married Rebecca. When she finally conceives G-d tells her that she is carrying twins. Upon birth, the “hairy” infant is called “Aisav,” and the younger infant grasping the elder’s “heel” is called “Jacob.” Aisav grew up a hunter, Jacob grew up to home life. Jacob buys the birthright from Aisav in return for a meal. Another famine forces Isaac to flee to Gaza, but G-d promises He shall return to Israel.
Like his father Abraham, Isaac claims his wife is his sister because he fears for his life. King Avimelech learns the truth and chastises Isaac for not telling the truth. Isaac plants in this land and reaps 100 times the average yield.
Isaac’s substantial financial and agricultural successes cause enmity and envy from the Philistines, so Avimelech asks him to leave. Isaac moves and again is successful. The Philistine likewise, fight with him time and time again, stealing possession of his wells until Isaac finally reaches Rechovot and is allowed to dwell in peace.
In a vision, G-d promises Isaac to make his family numerous and strong; he responds by building an altar and thanking G-d. The leaders of the Philistines come pleading to make a peace treaty with Isaac.
He continues to prosper but is pained when Aisav continues to marry Canaanite women. Growing old, Isaac decides to bless his sons before dying. Rebecca helps Jacob trick his father in order to receive the elder’s blessing.
Upon returning from hunting, Aisav learns how Jacob tricked their father into receiving the first blessing. Great hatred develops in him against Jacob, and he vows to kill his brother as soon as Isaac dies. Rebecca tells Jacob to flee to her brother in Mesopotamia. Isaac blesses Jacob again before he leaves. Aisav sees his wives are displeasing to his father so he marries a cousin, the granddaughter of Abraham, to appease them.
MAFTIR Genesis 28:7 – 9 ~ page 101
HAFTARAH Malachi 1:1 – 7 ~ page 102
Was Aisav not Jacob’s brother? Saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob. This is the prophet’s reply to the request for evidence of G-d’s love. A catastrophe has overtaken the descendants of Aisav but G-d would not permit them to rebuild their ruined cities (whereas Israel had been restored to their land and had rebuilt the Temple). The priests are accused by Malachi of bringing G-d’s service into contempt by offering blemished and maimed animals, and told that if they did not mend their ways they would be severely punished. The upright priest fears G-d, spreads the knowledge of the Law and ‘turns many away from iniquity, for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts’.
Parashah Study Questions
- V. 25:28 states “Isaac loved Esau because he provided him with food.”(25:28) Isaac was very wealthy. Why was he dependent on Aisav for food?
- Esau only asked for the lentil soup—why did Jacob give him bread, too (25:34)?
- Why did Rebecca repeat the words “until your brother’s anger turn away from you”? (27:44-45)
- Why does Shabbat erev Rosh Chodesh need a special haftarah?
- What is the astrological sign of Kislev? What does this mean?