by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TOLDOS 5773 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 19: "Avrohom holid es Yitzchok" - Avrohom sired Yitzchok - Rashi comments that these seemingly extra words ward off the claims of scoffers who said that Soroh became pregnant from Avimelech. Yitzchok was a perfect image of Avrohom and this laid their claims to rest. Why is this stressed here? There are numerous earlier verses that state that Yitzchok was Avrohom's son.
Our parsha tells us Yitzchok's toldos, progeny, Yaakov and Eisov. It was after the birth of these two sons that the scoffers had the temerity to make their statement. Had Yitzchok been the son of both Avrohom and Soroh, two exceedingly righteous people, there is no way that Yitzchok could have had such a wicked son as Eisov. It must be that he was the offspring of Soroh and Avimelech, i.e. only having one righteous biological parent. This would explain why one of his sons was righteous and one wasn't. this is why it was necessary at this point in time to reiterate that Yitzchok was the son of Avrohom and that Hashem replicated Avrohom's face in Yitzchok. (Biurei Mahari"a - Trumas Hadeshen)
Ch. 25, v. 21: "Va'ye'etar Yitzchok laShem" - And Yitzchok beseeched Hashem - Avrohom and Soroh waited many years until she bore a child. Why didn't Avrohom beseech Hashem as did Yitzchok? M.R. 53:4 says that Soroh didn't even have a uterus. For her to have a child was impossible without an outright miracle, a change in her body. This is akin to praying in vain, which the gemara Brochos 54a says one should not do. (Gri"z haLevi)
Ch. 25, v. 21: "Va'ye'etar Yitzchok laShem l'nochach ishto" - And Yitzchok beseeched Hashem across from his wife - Rashbam explains "l'nochach" as "bishvil," for the sake of. This means that although neither of them had any children, he only prayed for Rivkoh to have children. He was not concerned for himself as he was assured by a prophetic statement to Avrohom that his progeny would have children, "V'koroso es shmo Yitzchok vahakimosi es brisi ito L'ZARO acharov." This seems to be stated quite clearly in M.R. 63:5, "Master of the world, all of the children that You give me may they be from this righteous woman." Yitzchok was assured that he would have children and only prayed that they come from Rivkoh. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 25, v. 21: "Va'ye'etar Yitzchok laShem l'nochach ishto ki akoroh hee va'yei'o'seir lo Hashem vatahar Rivkoh ishto" - And Yitzchok beseeched Hashem across from his wife and Hashem consented to his prayers and his wife Rivkoh conceived - Why does our verse begin with "his wife," nameless, and end with her name Rivkoh? Yitzchok knew that his mother did not conceive as long as she was Sorai. He thought that his wife might likewise need a name change before she would conceive. He therefore prayed for "ishto" snas name. Hashem responded that she would have a child even without a name change, "vatahar Rivkoh ishto." (Divrei Sholo-m)
Ch. 25, v. 21: "Ki akoroh hee" - Because she is barren - The word "hee" is spelled with a Vov, as are almost all words "hee" in the Torah (there are only 11 exceptions). Rivkoh gave birth at the age of 23. she was 3 years old when she married. A woman does not reproduce before the age of 12 years old. Remove 11 years from 23 and we are left with 12 years. This is the total number of years that she was barren. This is why "hee" is spelled with a Vov, as then its numeric value is 12. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 25, v. 22: "Va'yisrotzatzu habonim b'kirboh" - And the sons wrestled within her - M.R. (Rashi) says that when Rivkoh stood near a shul or a beis medrash Yaakov would quake to leave and when she passed a house of idol worship Eisov would rush and quake to leave. Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin in Oznayim laTorah takes note of some subtle differences in the wording of the medrash. When Rivkoh "stood" in front of a shul or a beis medrash, Yaakov would want to leave. She stood there and did not rush past it. However, she "passed" a house of idol worship to get away quickly. This is why Eisov "ran" and pushed to get out quickly before Rivkoh was way past it.
Ch. 25, v. 25: "V'acharei chein yotzo ochiv v'yodo ochezes ba'a'keiv Eisov" - And after this his brother emerged and his hand grips the heel of Eisov - Rashi explains that Yaakov was conceived first and therefore emerged second. What is the symbolism of Eisov being born first and Yaakov gripping his heel upon being born?
Eisov is the zenith of Epicurean physical living. Yaakov is the zenith of living a spiritual life. Eisov emerges first from his mother's womb, where an angel teaches the fetus Torah. He was eager to leave and enter the physical world. He therefore exited first. Yaakov stayed longer in the spiritual aura of pre-birth, but had to leave, hence he emerged second. Albeit that his total life's pursuit would be spirituality, in a physical world physical necessities exist. He therefore held onto Eisov's heel, symbolic of needing but a bit of physicality, and at the heel level, low end. (n.l.)
Ch. 25, v. 30: "Hali'teini noh min ho'odom ho'odom ha'zeh" - Pour for me please this very red food - Eisov, being a rough person, seems to have spoken out of character by saying "noh," please. However, the word "noh" also has the translation "now." Eisov told Yaakov that although this food is still red, it was lentils that were still red as they were not fully cooked, he wanted it NOW. (Iturei Torah)
Ch. 25, v. 34: "Adoshim" - Lentils - As mentioned in the previous offering, Eisov was so gluttonous that he wanted the lentil soup immediately, even though it wasn't properly cooked. "Adoshim" has the same numeric value as "maachal ben Druso'i," 424. (n.l.)
Ch. 26, v. 18: "Vayikra lohen sheimos kasheimos asher koro lohen oviv" - And he called them names as the names his father called them - He did this as a sign of respect for his father. The fact that the Torah bothers telling this to us is a powerful lesson in retaining one's father's paths in service of Hashem and his father's customs. Here he retained the names, a rather minor matter. All the more so, when it comes to paths, customs, moral traits of one's father. Perhaps because Yitzchok was so punctilious in this, he of all the Patriarchs, merited to not have his name changed. (Rabbeinu Bachyei citing the Gaon)
Ch. 26, v. 29: "Vansha'leichacho b'sholo-m atoh atoh bruch Hashem" - And we have sent you in peace now you are blessed of Hashem - Why, all of a sudden NOW was Yitzchok blessed? Avimelech sent Yitzchok away not with the blessing of "L'sholo-m," but rather with "B'sholo-m." The gemara Brochos 64a says that the blessing upon parting should specifically be "L'sholo'm," as "B'sholo-m" has strong negative connotations. Having sent Yitzchok away with a negative salutation, Avimelech assumed that calamity would befall him. Nevertheless, Yitzchok's blessings expanded. Avimelech then realized that Yitzchok had a special blessing from Hashem. (Sh'eiris Menachem)
Ch. 27, v. 36: "Es b'chorosi lokach v'hinei atoh lokach birchosi" - My primogeniture right he has taken and behold now he has taken my blessing - Why is Eisov bringing up old grievances now? The issue at hand is the blessing. When Rivkoh went to Shem during her difficult pregnancy she was told that the elder son would serve the younger, meaning that Yaakov would rule over Eisov. Yitzchok's blessing to Yaakov was that he would lord over his brothers, "He'vei gvir l'achecho" (27:29). So Eisov complained that since Yaakov bought the birthright, he was to be considered the older son, and in turn he should serve Eisov. Now Yitzchok gave Yaakov a blessing that Eisov should serve him. The candle is being burned at both ends. (Malbim)
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