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Does the End Justify the Means?
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The Machiavellian concept “The Ends Justify the Means” has been a source of much of the evil that the world has known. One example is the Western intellectuals who viewed themselves as humanists who nevertheless supported Stalin, believing that his atrocities were necessary steps for achieving a better future for humanity. But if we do […]
The Tragedy of Good Intentions
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It is the deep, reverberating question at the heart of Toledot. Why did Rebecca tell Jacob to deceive Isaac and take Esau’s blessing? Her instruction is brisk and peremptory: “Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go now to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can […]
Rabbi Weinreb’s Torah Column, Parshat Toldot
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It was the sixth session of the class, but like most teachers, I knew very little about the personal backgrounds of my students, Richard, Simon, and Leon. I was beginning to know each of them as students of Genesis and as open-minded young Jews, ready to learn all they could. But I had no clue as to their family backgrounds and as to whether or not they were married or had families of their own.
Parshat Toldot: The Misconceptions of Prayer
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“And Yitzchak prayed for his wife because she was barren and Hashem answered him and Rivka his wife conceived.” (Beresheit 25:21) This passage is the first instance in which the Torah explicitly makes reference to prayer. Rivka was childless and Yitzchak prayed to Hashem and asked that they be given children. This incident clearly illustrates […]
Parshat Toldot: What’s So Important about the Soup?
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“And Esav said to Yaakov, “Pour into me, now, from this very red food for I am exhausted.” Therefore, he is called Edom”. (Beresheit 25:30) Esav comes home from the fields. He is exhausted and famished. Yaakov is cooking a red soup. Esav asks Yaakov to give him the soup. Yaakov asks Esav to sell […]
Yaakov and Rivkah’s Ethical Struggle
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And Yaakov said to Rivkah his mother: But Esav is a hairy man and I am a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps, my father will feel me and I will be a deceiver in his eyes. And I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing. And his mother said to him: Upon me will […]