Friday, November 21, 2014

Dvar Torah - Parshat Toldos

This week we are privileged to read the portion Toldos. The portion begins with Yitzchok and Rivka beseeching the Heavenly Throne to merit children. After conception, Rivka felt that this was not a usual child, she went to question Sheim, who told her she was going to have twins- two different nations. The two children were born, one was born hairy and mature, the other was of different character. Yaakov lived a life of perusing spiritual growth and gaining his lot in the world to come Eisav was chasing materialism and concerned only with the mundane world. While Yaakov immersed himself in a life of study and growth, Eisav was hunting animals, however in front of his father he would act as if he was righteous and holy. At age 15 the two were noticeably different Eisav was hunting animals, murdering and robbing, and Yaakov was tied to his studies. Yaakov purchased the first born rights from Eisav for lentil soup... We also learn about Yitzchok's dispute with Avimelech over wells which Avrohom dug up and phelstitites filled them... (These wells represent more than just the physical water)....later In the portion we learn how Yitzchok wanted to bless Eisav and asked him to prepare a festive meal, so that he can bless him. By request of Rivka, Yaakov prepared the meal and received the blessings in Eisav's place. Now the two forces became enemies (until this very day) .

The Torah tells us that Yitzchok took a liking to Eisav and Rivka favored Yaakov. We know that Eisav honored his father greatly. In fact, he would come ask questions to pretend that he was truly observant. Yitzchok, was blind and because of that he judged only by what he heard from Eisav. The chidushei harim explains that the power of the mitzvah of honoring one's parents is so great that it shielded Eisav from causing his father pain and therefore his true behavior was unknown to Yitzchok. The Sifsei Tzudok adds that when Eisav was in Yitzchok's presence he regretted all his sins, however he didn't maintain those thoughts. As soon as he left the room he was back to his same old self. Missed opportunity!

Many times we are shaken up by events that take place and we understand that there's a message for us, but we don't act on it and just miss the opportunity. Unfortunately sometimes it comes thru tragic events, and we need to act immediately to improve ourselves somehow, so that we don't end up being tzayid befiv (fakers).

Perhaps another message and maybe something to think about during these turbulent times. We know that the Torah goes into detail about the sale of the first born rights. Why is it so important ? Doesn't it seem like Yaakov used Eisav and took advantage of Eisav in a so called weak moment ?

If we look into the events we see what the fabric of an Eisav is. Our sages teach us that on that day Avrohom Avinu passed away. Eisav didn't participate in the funeral, but rather went hunting, he also robbed and murdered on that day. When he finally arrived home, the entire world mourned the loss of Avrohom, as is stated in Talmud Baba Basra 91a, people said woe to the world that lost its leader, to the ship that lost its captain, Eisav however had one thing in mind, food. Not only did he request food but he requested that it be poured into his mouth like a camel (haliteini). When Yaakov saw the lack of decency, the lack of sensitivity to others pain, he knew this boy was not suitable to pass on the legacy of his ancestors. This is why he requested that he sell him the rights to the first born privileges. Character specifically during time of crisis defines the difference between a Yaakov and an Eisav.

May we all be blessed with the blessings that Yitzchok blessed Yaakov by strengthening the voice of Torah and prayer, we will be spared from the hand of Eisav.

Gut Shabbos

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