Toldot, This Week’s Torah Portion: Jacob and Esau

November 8, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Toldot, This Week’s Torah Portion: Jacob and Esau

This week, we read of the birth of the twins, Jacob and Esau. We learn that from the time they were able, they were opposites. They struggled over who would receive their father, Isaac’s, blessing. This struggle is shown between two people yet it could also be viewed as a struggle between two archetypes or philosophies of life.

Esau lives as a violent hunter who is most comfortable and adept in the outdoors. He is cunning and ruled by his impulses. Jacob is described as simple, innocent and gentle. Every day we have a struggle within us between being ruled by our impulses and living a more gentle and patient life. We have the inner tension between Esau, who represents the here and now and Jacob who looks ahead.

Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, a former Rabbi of the Old City in Jerusalem wrote that the world is so full of noise and distractions that we are often unable to take the time to truly decide between those two options. He believes that if we did take that time to contemplate in peace and quiet, we would choose Jacob’s way of looking ahead with patience. This, of course, is not easy to do in our fast-paced world. We are rushed, we feel the urgency and we make decisions that may hurt us in the long term.

There are times in our lives where we must be a little like Esau, we have to survive. Yet the goal is to live more like Jacob, patient, gentle and preparing for the future. I ask God’s blessing that we all may be strengthened with patience and foresight.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Metz

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Torah Teachings