* TOLDOT *
Jacob inspires us to overcome our Esau-like desires
for instant gratification and physical power.
Esau is like the biblical version of John Wayne, thriving on power and physical impulses. B when he's put up against his less burly and more intellectual brother Jacob, he loses out in the end.
Esau is surely one of the most tragic figures of the Bible. He is a simple man, whose robust nature leads him to exult in his own health, strength and energy. Esau loves to hunt. He revels in the outdoors and in bursting limits. Esau is a man of impulse. Like Rambo or John Wayne, Esau thrives on his tremendous power, his physical courage and his own inner drives.
Modern America admires that. We distrust the intellectual. Someone who thinks too much, or who is too sensitive to the feelings of others (or to his own feelings) is held in disdain. We prefer a man who can impose his own will through a show of determination and strength, someone who doesn't plan in advance, someone who can relish the moment and trust his own passions.More
Rebekah gives birth to twins, Esau and Jacob, who struggle with each other, engage in bargaining and deception to obtain the birthright and Isaac's blessing.
Rebekah and Isaac want a child. They pray to God. Rebekah soon feels violent movement within her womb. She asks God why she feels fighting within her, and God answers, “Two nations are in your womb and two states. They will be divided from one another, starting from within you. One state shall become mightier than the other and the mighty one shall serve the lesser.”
When Rebekah gives birth, she has two boys. The first baby comes out red-cheeked and hairy and they name him Esau. The second is a smooth-skinned baby whom they name Jacob.
When the lads grow up, Esau who understands hunting and farming. Jacob is a single-minded man, living in tents. Isaac favors Esau while Rebekah favors Jacob. One day Esau comes from the field feeling hungry and faint and sees Jacob with a pot of stew. “Jacob,” Esau asks, “May I have a bit of your stew please. I am faint with hunger.”
* TOLDOT *
God's expectations for the Israelites and the priests
Malakhi lived in the 5th century BCE and was the last of all of the prophets. Because Malakhi means "my messenger," it is probably not a personal name, but rather a vague title for a man who was known only as a messenger from God. His short book of prophecy is full of frustration and disappointment with the people and their lackluster Temple service.
The opening of haftarat Toldot contains a direct allusion to the Torah portion: "I have shown you love, said the Lord. But you ask, 'How have You shown us love?' After all--declares the Lord--Esau is Jacob's brother; yet I have accepted Jacob and rejected Esau."
Trust in God
Trust in God
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