Aliya-by-Aliya Sedra Summary
Kohen - First Aliya - 21 p'sukim - 25:19-26:5
SDT Rashi quotes the Gemara that tells that when Yitzchak was born, scoffers said that Avraham and Sara, who were childless for so long, had found a baby and claimed it as their own. Avraham invited the leaders of the nations, their wives and infants, and Sara was miraculously able to wet-nurse all the babies. (The Gemara points to the plural "banim" in 21:7.) Then the scoffers accepted that Sara bore Yitzchak, but chided Avraham that Avimelech was the father (since Yitzchak's birth followed Sara's abduction). A miracle occurred and baby Yitzchak was the very image of his father Avraham, until the scoffers proclaimed, "Avraham fathered Yitzchak".
SDT Earlier, the Torah tells us of the generations of Yishmael b. Avraham. That seems to be in balance with the beginning of this sedra, which speaks of Yitzchak, except:  the Torah makes a point that Yishmael is the son of Hagar the Egyptian, the maidservant of Sara. In other words, Yishmael was NOT the real To'l'dotof Avraham; and  To'l'dot (in the Yishmael context) is spelled without a vav, implying that something was missing. To'l'dot of Yitzchak b. Avraham; it was Avraham who fathered Yitzchak. And the word To'l'dot is spelled with its vav.
Yitzchak is 40 years old when he marries Rivka (3 years after the Akeida). The Torah emphasizes Rivka's family background.
After 20 years of childlessness (10 until Rivka was of child-bearing age plus an additional 10 years without a child), Yitzchak and Rivka pray to G-d. G-d hears their (actually his) prayer and Rivka becomes pregnant. She is having a "rough time" and goes to Shem b. Noach (who outlived Avraham, by the way) who tells her G-d's message, that she will give birth to twins who will go in very different ways and become great adversarial nations.
SDT Commentaries say that Rivka was unaware that she was carrying twins; she thought the turmoil within her existed in a single baby - this had her very upset; she was somewhat calmed by the Divine message of her carrying twins. Another commentator suggests that Rivka knew she'd have twins but did not see the benefit of bringing a Yaakov into this world if it meant also having an Eisav. Part of the reply to her question "why do I need this", is that her conclusion was wrong.
Take a look at Rashi. Two great nations - these are Antoninus and Rabbi (Yehuda HaNasi)... It can be suggested that the Divine message to Rivka, was that even though there will great tension and friction between the descendants of the twins she was carrying, Yaakov and Eisav, there will be an example of a Roman (from Eisav) and a Jew who will truly get along and that is the hope for the future when the nations of the world will all recognize Israel's role in the world and their special relationship with the One G-d Who will then be universally recognized.
Eisav and Yaakov are born, Yaakov clutching the heel of Eisav. The boys grow and develop different personalities - Eisav is the hunter and outdoorsman; Yaakov, the mild, studious "tent-dweller". Yitzchak loves Eisav; Rivka loves Yaakov.
SDT There are many different commentaries on these relationships. Note that Yitzchak's love is based on Eisav's providing food for him. Rivka's love is unconditional. Pirkei Avot says that only an unconditional love will endure forever.
Yaakov is preparing a lentil stew for his father. (The Gemara tell us that this was the day of Avraham's death; Yaakov was preparing the traditional mourner's meal for Yitzchak.)
Eisav returns from the field in a state of exhaustion. He asks Yaakov for some of the food. In exchange for the food, Yaakov acquires the birthright, which is insignificant in Eisav's eyes, but meaningful to Yaakov.
[P> 26:1 (33)] A famine hits the Land (like the one in Avraham's time - this is one of the many similarities between the lives of Avraham and Yitzchak) and Yitzchak goes to Avimelech in Gerar. G-d appears to Yitzchak and reminds him that he must not leave the Land. G-d also repeats his promises of the Land and of the large nation that will descend from him.
TAKE A LOOK... The first famine that drove Avraham and Sara to Egypt, when Par'o discovers their true relationship, he sends them away. The second time, when they went to Gerar and said they were brother and sister, and then they were “found out”, Avimelech gives them many things and invites them to stay. (Par'o had given Avraham great wealth, but it was before he knew.) Yitzchak and Rivka also say they are siblings, but no one takes Rivka. When they are "found out", they stick around. This has been just an observation.
SDT Brachot 56: Rabbi Chanina said, he who sees a well in a dream, he will see peace... Yitzchak's servants dug and found a live spring, B'EIR MAYIM CHAYIM.
This is immediately followed by the peace treaty between Avimelech and Yitzchak. Rabbi Natan continues in the same Gemara. He who sees a well in his dream has found Torah, as it says in Mishlei: He who finds Me, finds life... an equation is made between G-d, Torah, and Life.
(Not a rare experience through the generations - Jews are expelled from a country, which subsequently regrets its actions because of the decline they experienced without the Jews in their midst. And we, somehow, kept going back.)
Chamishi - Fifth Aliya - 33 p'sukim - 26:30-27:27
[S> 26:34 (2)] Eisav marries at 40 years of age - a (sub)conscious attempt to emulate his father. However wicked Eisav is, he is genuinely respectful and loving of his father. On the other hand, Eisav's choice of a wife disgusts both Yitzchak and Rivka.
[S> 27:1 (55)] Yitzchak is old and blind and calls to Eisav to prepare for him a special meal and then receive a special blessing. While Eisav is in the fields doing his father's bidding, Rivka prepares Yaakov to receive the blessing instead of Eisav. She tells Yaakov to bring her two goats and she would prepare the dishes that Yitzchak loved. Yaakov hesitates for fear that Yitzchak will feel his smooth skin and realize that Yaakov has come to deceive him. Rivka dresses Yaakov in Eisav's garments and places a goat-skin on his neck to give it a rough feel. She gives Yaakov the food to bring to his father.
It seems obvious that Yaakov was punished measure for measure for his deception of Yitzchak. The Brothers not only deceived Yaakov concerning the fate of Yosef, but they used a goat and a garment (exactly the two items that Yaakov used to deceive his father) to bring about their deception. If we accept the idea that Yaakov was supposed to get the bracha that Yitzchak was going to give to Eisav, that it was G-d's will, and even G-d's command according to Onkeles, to Rivka to “set it up”, then why was Yaakov punished so severely? An answer might be suggested in the form of an analogy. When one has to take drastic, life-saving treatments -"serious" medication, radiation, etc., what is done might be absolutely necessary, but there are often harsh side-effects.
As Yitzchak finishes blessing Yaakov, Eisav returns from the hunt. He prepares food for his father and presents it with a request (demand) of the blessing. Yitzchak trembles when he realizes that the bracha went to Yaakov. When Yitzchak explains to Eisav that Yaakov received (and rightly so) the blessing, Eisav bitterly cries out and asks his father for a blessing too. Yitzchak gives Eisav a blessing (not as exalted as Yaakov's). Eisav decides to kill Yaakov for this, the second time he has taken something away from him. Rivka hears (how? Ru’ach HaKodesh again, perhaps?) of Eisav's plans and encourages Yaakov to flee to Rivka's home town until Eisav's wrath subsides. Rivka suggests to Yitzchak that he send Yaakov away to find a proper wife.
Note that Rivka did NOT tell Yitzchak that Eisav wanted to kill Yaakov. Perhaps she felt that it would pain him to much to learn of Eisav's true character. Perhaps, Yitzchak would have refused to believe that his Eisav would contemplate such a thing. Instead, Rivka expresses another concern (legitimate) as her reason for wanting Yitzchak to send Yaakov away.
Yitzchak calls for Yaakov and gives him another blessing and
sends him off to Padan Aram to find a wife from Rivka's family. He gives
Yaakov "the blessing of Avraham", thus providing for the continuity of the
Chain that becomes Judaism.
Sh'vi'i - Seventh Aliya - 5 p'sukim - 28:5-9
Talmud Yerushalmi exclaims that this is Bosmat, and asks why her name was changed. The astonishing answer is that all Eisav's sins were forgiven when he took a wife intended to please his parents. The Talmud generalizes and gives this as the source that the sins of a CHATAN (and KALLA) are forgiven when they marry. Strange source for an important concept.
The final 3 p’sukim are reread for the Maftir.
Perhaps it is because Rosh Chodesh is so understated and often ignored. This became a way - in addition to Rosh Chodesh benching - to say: Hear ye hear ye, tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh.
From this reading we see that Rosh Chodesh was celebrated
with a special meal which was to be eaten in a state of ritual purity. Many
have the custom today of marking Rosh Chodesh today with a special meal. The
Haftara also serves as a source of the minhag of abstaining or reducing
one's work on Rosh Chodesh...