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Was Jacob Right To Take Esau’s Blessing?
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Was Jacob right to take Esau’s blessing in disguise? Was he right to deceive his father and to take from his brother the blessing Isaac sought to give him? Was Rivka right in conceiving the plan in the first place and encouraging Jacob to carry it out? These are fundamental questions. What is at stake […]
“Instant Soup or Slow Cooking?” – Parshat Toldot
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How should siblings treat each other? In this week’s parsha, Esau demands a portion of soup from his brother Jacob while the family is mourning the death of their grandfather, Abraham. By requiring this instant gratification, Esau put himself before his family, disrupting the solemn mood and eventually forsaking his status as the first-born son. […]
Parshas Toldos
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The Torah tells us that Yaakov Avinu was a pure person who sat and learned Torah (see Targum and Rashi) and that Eisav was a man of the field and a hunter. The Torah tells us that Yitzchok loved Eisav because he hunted animals for him to eat, and that Rivka loved Yaakov. Since the […]
The Blessing of a Father: Isaac’s “Blindness”?
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The choreography of Yaakov’s “theft” of Esav’s blessing is well-known. Favored by Rivkah , he conspires with her to take advantage of his father’s failing eyesight to win Yitzchak’s blessing, leaving Esav, favored by his father, to go without the honor of the first-born. This reading of parshat Toldot makes central the animosity between the […]
Stand-Up Comedy
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“These are the generations of Yitzchak the son of Avraham, Avraham fathered Yitzchak.” (Bereishit 25:19) Readers of this first verse cannot help but notice the redundancy between the first and second clause of the same sentence. If Yitzchak was the son of Avraham, then indeed Avraham fathered Yitzchak. Rashi, ever sensitive to the subtleties of […]
Toldot 5767: Testing the Essence
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In this parsha shiur Shira Smiles discusses the narrative of the story of Yitzchak’s blessings to his sons Yaakov and Esav. Yitzchak’s main strength was that of Gevurah (inner strength), and therefore he is tested specifically in this area.