Parashat Toldot

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Birth of Yackov and Esav

The generations of Yitzchak the son of Avrahom were Yackov and Esav.[1] Hashem created Yitzchak's facial features to greatly resembled Avrahom. This was done to dispute the claim of the generation's scoffers that Sarah had conceived from Avimelech for she had lived with Abraham for many years and had not conceived from him.[1]

Prayers for Children

Yitzchak was forty years old when he married Rivka the daughter of Bisuel the Aramean from Padan Aram, the sister of Luvon the Aramean, who had grown up with these two wicked men but did not learn from their deeds.[2] Although Rivka was born at the time of Akadah and Sara's death when Yitzchak was 37, he had waited 3 years before marrying her until she would be fit for marital relations.[2] Padan Aram - literally the 'field of Aram' was the joint name four the two Aram provinces: Aram Naharaim and Aram Tzovah.[2]

Yitzchak prayed a lot[3] and entreated[3] Hashem, because Rivka was barren. Yitzchak would pray in one corner opposite his wife who prayed in the parallel corner.[3] Hashem allowed Himself to be entreated and appeased by Yitzchak,[3] accepting his prayer and Rivka conceived. Yitzchak's prayer had been answered since he was righteous and his father Avrahom was righteous but not Rivka's because her father Bisuel was wicked.[3]

The Pregnancy

The two children struggled within her. When Rivka would near the Torah center of Shem and Ever, Yackov would run and struggle to come out. When she would pass by temples of idolatry Esav would struggle to come out.[4] Additionally they were struggling and fighting regarding the inheritance of This World and the Next.[4]

She told herself if the suffering of pregnancy is so great,[4] why is she like this desiring and praying about the pregnancy.[4] She went to inquire from Hashem at the academy of Shem,[4] so he could tell her what her future will be.[4] Hashem told her through Shem who received the answer through Divine Inspiration and transmitted it as a messenger;[5] there were two nations in her womb. Two kingdoms[5] will separate from her womb, having already separated there, Esav to wickedness and Yackov to piety.[5] One kingdom will be mightier then the other, they will never have equal greatness, when one rises the other will fall,[5] an example being Tyre's rise to power only from the destruction of Yerushalaim.[5] The elder one will server the younger one. Also alluded were the great Antoninus and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, whose tables did not lack neither radishes or lettuce, both in the summer and winter.[5]

The Birth

Rivka's days to give birth were completed after 9 months of pregnancy[6] and there were twins in her womb, one righteous and one evil.[6] The first emerging with reddish complexion, symbolizing that he will be murderer.[7] He was entirely covered with hair like a woven woolen coat which is full of hair.[7] They all[7] named him Esav, since he was made and developed (עשוי) from birth with the hair of someone much older.[7]

Afterwards his brother emerged with his hand grabbing Esav' heel. Yackov was created from the first drop and Esav from the second, just like when two stones are inserted in a narrow tube, the one entered first will emerge last and the one inserted second will emerge first. Therefore Yackov who was created first had the right to restrain Esav who was created last but trying to emerge first and instead try to be the one to open her womb since he was formed first and be the firstborn according to law.[8] By grasping Esav's heel, Yackov symbolized that Esav will not manage to complete his reign until he rises up and takes it from him.[8] Hashem[8] named him Yackov, Yitzchok also naming him so because of the grabbing of the heel.[8]

Yitzchak was 60 years when Rivka gave birth to them. Yitzchak was 40 when he married Rivka at age 3 and then waited 10 years until she was 13 and able to give conceive. When an additional 10 years passed, which he spent looking forward for her, just like his father Avraham did for Sarah, and she did not conceive, he knew that she was barren and prayed for her.[8] Yitzchak did not wish marry a maidservant because he had become sanctified on Mount Moriah to be perfect burnt offering.[8]

Growing Up

As long as they were small, they where not recognizable through their actions and no one analyzed their nature.[9] However when the children grew up and turned thirteen years old they parted.[9] Esav became a man who understood hunting, a man of the field, an loafer who hunted animals and birds with his bow[9] and parted to idolatry.[9] Aside for hunting animals, Esav also knew how to trap and deceive his father.[9] He would ask Yitzchak questions like how to take off Masser from salt and straw, convincing him that he was very carful observing Mitzvos.[9] Yackov on the other hand was a simple man who was not an expert deceit, rather his mouth was like his heart[9] and he dwelt in tents of Shem and Ever,[9] parting to the houses of Torah study.[9]

Yitzchak loved Esav because he would feed his mouth with hunted food.[10] Additionally Esav trapped him through his mouth by deceiving Yitzchak with his words.[10] Rivka loved Yackov.

Sale of Firstborn Rights

On the day they turned thirteen, Avraham passed away so he would not see his grandson Esav falling to bad ways and counter the promise Hashem had given him of experiencing a good old age. Therefore Hashem deducted five years from his life, living only 175 years, while his son Yitzchak lived 180 years.[11] Yackov cooked[12] a dish of lentils to feed his mourning father.[11] Selecting lentils because they are shaped like wheel, symbolizing that mourning is like a wheel turning in the world. Also just like lentils do not have a mouth opening, so to a mourner does not have a mouth since he's forbidden to speak,[11] and for the entire first three days he can not reply to anyone's greeting and for sure can not initiate a greeting. From to the third to seventh day, he can may respond but can not greet.[11] This is similar to the custom to start the mourner's meal with eggs, that are round and have no mouth.[11]

Esav came from the field feeling very tired from committing an act of murder.[12] Esav asked Yackov to pour into his open mouth[11] a loth[11] of the red dish of red lentils[11] for he was weak. He was therefore named Edom.

Yackov replied requesting that Esav sell him as of that day his rights as firstborn. This sale was to be as clear as the that day.[13] Yackov desired the position of firstborn that included the sacrificial services, to prevent the evil Esav who did not deserve to sacrifice to Hashem from doing so.[13] Esav answered that there were many prohibitions, punishments and death penalties involved in the service of the firstborn, for transgressions such as performing services while drunk or with long hair.[14] Regardless he is will end up dying from it and did therefore not want[14] the rights of firstborn. Additionally the firstborn rights were not stable since the position of the services were later to be transferred to the Tribe of Levi.[14]

Yackov asked Esav to swear to him as of that day. He swore to him and sold his rights as first born to Yackov. Yackov gave Esav bread and lentil dish. Esav ate, drank and got up degrading the role of firstborn, attesting to his wickedness by degrading the service of Hashem. [15]

Taking Firstborn Status

When the forces of evil attack a person and he fights back, not only is he able to recover the energy they stole from him, he is able to extract energy that was buried deep inside of them from what they had previously captured. Therefore when Yaakov battled the damages of Esav he was able to extract from him even the status of Firstborn.[16]


There was a famine in the Eretz Yisroel aside from the first famine that occurred in the days of Avraham. Yitzchak went to Avimelech the king of the Pelishtim to Gerar. Yitzhck had in mind to go down to Egypt, just as his father had when there was a famine.[17] Hashem appeared to Yitzchk and told him not to go down to Egypt since he was offered as a perfect burnt offering during the Akaida and being in Diaspora was not worth it for him.[17] Rather he was to dwell in the land that Hashem tells him. Yitzchak should temporarily live in this land and Hashem will be with him and He will bless him since to Yitzchak and his descendants Hashem will give all these[18] lands and He will uphold the oath that He swore to Avraham his father.

The Blessings

Trickery of Yackov

Esav tried very hard to deceive his father with all his trickery and lies, until he would bring the supernal blessings upon him. Yackov was therefore forced to move against Esav in great trickery as well until he managed to snatch the blessings from him.[16]

Blessing of Esav

Esav's blessing of "on your sword you shall live" is the cause for the great lengthening of the exile.[16]


  1. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 25:19
  2. ^ a b c Rashi Berashis 25:20
  3. ^ a b c d e Rashi Berashis 25:21
  4. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Berashis 25:22
  5. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Berashis 25:23
  6. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 25:24
  7. ^ a b c d Rashi Berashis 25:25
  8. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Berashis 25:26
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rashi Berashis 25:27
  10. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 25:28
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Rashi Berashis 25:30
  12. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 25:29
  13. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 25:31
  14. ^ a b c Rashi Berashis 25:32
  15. ^ Rashi Berashis 25:34
  16. ^ a b c Likutay Halachos, Hilchos Ginava 5/9-11
  17. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 26:2
  18. ^ Rashi Berashis 26:3
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