Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Toldot
To dedicate this lesson
An Overview of the Torah Portion

Parasha Summary - Toldot


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

After 20 years of marriage without children, Yitzchak's prayers to Hashem are answered; Rivka conceives twins, Esav & Yakov. The pregnancy is extremely painful. Hashem reveals to Rivka that she is carrying twins from whom two great nations will be descended - Edom/Rome & Israel. Esav is born first, then Yakov, holding onto Esav's heel.

As they grow, their paths separate: Esav is a hunter, a man of the physical world, whereas Yakov sits in the tents of Torah developing his soul. On the day of the funeral of their grandfather Avraham, Yakov is cooking lentil soup, the traditional mourner's meal. Esav rushes in, & decides to sell Yakov his birthright for a bowl of soup.

Yitzchak wants to escape to Egypt when a severe famine strikes Canaan, but Hashem reminds him that because of the Akeida, he has attained a special holiness & must never leave Israel. Avimelech makes a treaty with him over the wells of Avraham.

Yitzchak summons Esav to give his blessings. Rivka helps Yakov impersonate Esav, so that the blessings go to Yakov. Esav discovers what has happened & he, too, seeks & is given blessings. Esav vows to kill his brother, so Rivka sends Yakov to her brother Lavan's home.
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