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Toldot ~ 5772 ~ תולדות
Isaac was 40 when he married Rebecca. Rebecca finally conceives and is told by G-d that she is carrying twins. Upon birth, the “hairy” infant is called “Aisav”, and the younger infant grasping the elder’s “heel” is called “Yakov”. 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.
Isaac, like his father Abraham, 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 again and again fight with Isaac and steal possession of his wells until finally in Rechovot, Isaac is allowed to dwell in peace.
In a vision G-d promises Isaac to make his family numerous and strong. Isaac responds by building an Alter and thanking G-d. The leaders of the Philistines come pleading to make a Peace Treaty with Isaac.
Isaac continues to prosper but is pained when Aisav continues to marry Canaanite women. Isaac, growing old decides to bless his sons before he dies. Rebecca helps Jacob trick his father in order to receive the elder’s blessing.
Upon Aisav’s return from hunting he learns how Jacob tricked their father into receiving the first blessing. Great hatred develops in Aisav against his brother and he vows to kill Jacob, as soon as Isaac dies. Rebecca therefore 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 not Aisav 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’.
Parsha Study Questions
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1. Before the Torah was given, which commandments, statues, and laws did Avraham observe (26:5)?
2. Both Avraham and Yakov were allowed to leave Israel during famines – why is Isaac forbidden (26:2)?
3. Is the Rechovot mentioned here, the same of modernity?
4. If Avimelech really wants peace why did he bring his head general with him (26:26)?
5. What is the symbolic representation of Kislev? How does this relate to Chanukah?