Shabbat Toldot - Don't be a Fool
by Merrill Lasko ~
This week's passage, Toldot, relates the history of Isaac, son of Abraham, and his generations. It begins with Isaac and Rebecca in a very similar situation to Abraham and Sarah...both couples are dealing with difficulty in conceiving a child. In Isaac and Rebecca's case, Isaac prays to Adonai, who hears and accepts his prayer. Rebecca conceives not one child, but two. Her pregnancy proves to be so difficult (the Scripture relates that the children “struggled in her womb”) to the point that she even questioned why she continued to exist.
During this challenging time, Adonai speaks to Rebecca, giving her the word that, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will separate; one people will become stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” At last the time of birth comes, and two boys are brought forth. The first is described as being red and coated with hair, and he is given the name Esau. The second is said to come out grasping the heel (eikev) of his brother and is named Jacob (Ya'akov)...