Points to Ponder

Toldos 5777

This is the history of Yitzchak the son of Avraham (25:19) – Rashi notes that the Letzanei HaDor used to make a big deal of rumoring that Yitzchak was Avimelech’s child. The Griz notes that the bigger Chiddush was not mentioned – that a 90 year old Sarah had a baby! Rav Schachter Shlita once noted that the world likes to claim that Jewish miracles are a bluff, they could not deny that Sarah had the baby, so they turned their attention to the conception. The arguments though, were pure Leitzanus – designed to say that Jewish life is stranger than fiction.

Yitzchak was 40 years old when he married Rivka (25:20)- When Yitzchak became 40, he entered the world of Binah. Rav Gifter ztl. explains that this was time he wanted to be married. The goal of marriage is the continuity of generations. This is the concept of Davar Mitoch Davar. That is what Binah is all about.

And he dug another well (26:22) – Why was it that the first two wells had arguments about them and this third one had no arguments over its ownership? Rabbi Lamm Shlita quoted his uncle who noted that in the first 2 cases Yitzchak left the digging of the wells in the hands of others and as a result the wells led to Eisek and Sitna – hatred and arguments. Once he did the job himself, the well he dug led to Rechovot – to a willingness to work by himself to expand the world by committing his own energies, talents concern and participation to the task. The same is true for each of us who commit ourselves to the mission in life that each of us is assigned to.

And Yitzchak was greatly terrified (27:34) – What was Yitzchak’s great fear? Rav Haim Sabato Shlita suggests that Yitzchak’s desire was to connect to both his children and keep them close so that he could place them both under the wing of the Shechina. However, Hashem showed him that the son who was so callous that he sold the Bechora for a mere bowl of lentils is one who does not get the power of the Berachos nor the responsibilities from the world to uphold their uniqueness. Thus, terrified that he was almost mistaken, he noted that Gam Baruch Yihiyeh.

Bless me as well my father (27:38) – Why doesn’t Eisav ever ask Yitzchak to taste his food? Rav Nebenzahl Shlita explains that Rashi notes that the day was Pesach and that when Yaakov fed Yitzchak, he partook of the Chagigah and then the Korban Pesach. We hold Ein Maftirin Achar HaPesach Afikoman. Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld ztl. added that the gematria of B’Mirma is afikomen. Hence Yitzchak couldn’t eat.

Listen to my voice (27:43) – Rashi explains that Rivka learned of Eisav’s intentions against Yaakov through Ruach HaKodesh. Still, she never revealed this to Yitzchak when she explained why she wanted Yaakov sent away. Why? Rav Shlomo Wolbe Ztl. explained that we learned the Tzniyus of Rivka in her choice of actions. He added that she used different reasoning because she wanted to explain more of her thinking as needed. Sometimes the full reasoning for a decision need not be explained when it comes to Talmidei Chachamim.

Eisav took Machalas Bas Yishmael (28:9) – Later she is referred to as Basmas. Rashi explains that we learn from here that one who gets married achieves a Mechilas Avonos. Why is Eisav the one who teaches us this lesson? Rav Pam ztl. explained that when Eisav got married a thought of teshuva passed through his mind. Even a wicked person has the ability to do Teshuvah. Therefore it is from him that we learn that a Chosson can do Teshuva.

Haftorah – I love Yaakov…and I hate Eisav (Malachi 1:2, 3) – Why is there a need to highlight the fact that Hashem loves Yaakov and hates Eisav at the same time? Could the choice be any different? Rav Moshe Lichtenstein Shlita explains that  the haftara opens with love, but ends with fear, for love without fear is not a legitimate possibility, because it diminishes the glory of heaven and the meaning of love. It is not by chance that the Rambam joined them together (Hilkhot Yesodei haTorah 2:1-2) as a single essence and an interwoven experience, and refused to separate between them (despite the fact that he counted them as two separate mitzvot in the count of the mitzvot). However, the actions of Israel, who express their astonishment over the absence of God's love, reveal that they do not really understand the essence of fear. After finishing with the rebuke of Israel, the haftara turns to the priests and guides them to give glory to His name, speaking about the covenant based on the fear of God: My covenant was with him for life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear with which he feared Me, and was afraid of My name. (2:5) It should, however, be added and emphasized that the proper foundation of fear will allow love to find its place, and then it will be possible to fulfill the prayer of the psalmist: "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Tehilim 2:11).