Thursday, October 31, 2013

Parashat Toldot, 5774/2013 edition

Basics here.

[Sunday, November 3, 2013:  See update at end of post.]

In B’reshit/Genesis, chapter 25, verse 21Yitzchak/Isaac, unlike either his father Avraham or his son Yaakov/Jacob, shows empathy for his barren wife and prays on her behalf.
כא  וַיֶּעְתַּר יִצְחָק לַיהוָה לְנֹכַח אִשְׁתּוֹ, כִּי עֲקָרָה הִוא; וַיֵּעָתֶר לוֹ יְהוָה, וַתַּהַר רִבְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ.
21 And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD let Himself be entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

And in chapter 27,  Rivkah/Rebecca thanks him for his kindness by almost literally pulling the wool over his eyes?!  
טו  וַתִּקַּח רִבְקָה אֶת-בִּגְדֵי עֵשָׂו בְּנָהּ הַגָּדֹל, הַחֲמֻדֹת, אֲשֶׁר אִתָּהּ, בַּבָּיִת; וַתַּלְבֵּשׁ אֶת-יַעֲקֹב, בְּנָהּ הַקָּטָן.
15 And Rebekah took the choicest garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son.
טז  וְאֵת, עֹרֹת גְּדָיֵי הָעִזִּים, הִלְבִּישָׁה, עַל-יָדָיו--וְעַל, חֶלְקַת צַוָּארָיו.
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck.

כג  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה לָהּ, שְׁנֵי גֹיִים בְּבִטְנֵךְ, וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים, מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ; וּלְאֹם מִלְאֹם יֶאֱמָץ, וְרַב יַעֲבֹד צָעִיר.
23 And the LORD said unto her: Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

  • Here are my thoughts from last year, with links to my thoughts from previous years.  
Update, Sunday, November 3, 2013:
  • My favorite among the divrei Torah that I read this, er, last week
In Praise of Isaac: The Bible’s Paragon of Marital Empathy (by Rabbi Shai Held)

"Abraham prays on
Avimelech’s behalf, and we are told that as a result, “God healed Avimelech and his wife and
his slave girls, so that they bore children” (emphasis mine) (20:17). Abraham’s prayers, it seems,
can heal, and enable barren women to give birth. And yet, astoundingly, he has apparently
never chosen to intervene for Sarah. Couldn’t he have—shouldn’t he have—prayed for Sarah
rather than (or at least before) consenting to take Hagar into his bed? "


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