Weekly Sidra: Toledot (Generations)
Torah Portion: Bereshit / Genesis 25:19-28:9
Haftorah: Sh’muel Alef / I Samuel 20:18-20:42
Toledot, Toldot, or Tol’doth (תּוֹלְדֹת — Hebr "" for “line” or “Generations,” the second word and the first distinctive word in the parshah) is the sixth weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. It constitutes Genesis 25:19–28:9. Jews in the Diaspora read it the sixth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in November or early December. It is so named because the Torah portion begins with the words “Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac” (Genesis 25:19). Toldot tells us the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau and their struggle for the birthright and blessing of their father, Isaac. We also learn about Isaac’s trials and difficulties in the land of Canaan. The portion concludes with Jacob’s deception of Isaac in order to procure the family blessing.
Last week’s parsha was Chaya Sarah, which contained the wedding of Avraham Avinu’s son Yitzchak to Rivkah.
1st Aliya: Yitzchak is 40 years old (2088) when he marries Rivkah. After 20 years, Esav and Yakov are born. She had a very difficult pregnancy and eventually gave birth to twin boys: a hairy reddish boy named Esav, and a second boy, holding onto the first one’s heel, named Yakov. The Parsha jumps from their birth to Yakov’s purchase of the 1st born rights from Esav at the age of 15. (2123 – the day Avraham died) Our sages say that this was the day Avraham passed away and the food Yakov was cooking was to feed the bereaved, his father Yitzchak.
2nd Aliya: The Parsha returns to the story of Yitzchak and Rivkah and the famine which forces them to settle among the Plishtim (Yitzchak was tempted to go down to Egypt where his father, Avraham, had gone in similar circumstances. But God told him not to leave the land of Israel because he was sanctified as an offering to God, by being brought to the akaida, and therefore not fit to leave the Holy Land of Israel). Yitzchak, like his father before him, has a moral confrontation with Avimelech, after which his fields are uniquely prolific and financially successful.
3rd Aliya: Yitzchak’s financial success leads to jealousy with his Plishtim neighbors. He re-digs Avraham’s wells, resulting in a confrontation with the Plishtim over water rights. He moves back to Beer Sheva.
4th Aliya: Hashem, in a dream, confirms for Yitzchak the future of his children. Avimelech, the King of the Plishtim, and his General, Phicol, approach Yitzchak to make a peace treaty.
5th Aliya: The treaty between Yitzchak and the Plishtim is celebrated. The Parsha returns to the story of Yakov and Esav. Esav’s marriage to two Canaanite women at the age of 40 (2148) brings disappointment to Yitzchak and Rivkah. In 2171, when Yakov and Esav are 63 and Yitzchak is 123, Yitzchak blesses Yakov and Esav. Yitzchak asks his son Esav, his first-born son, to fetch some meat and cook it nicely, and Yitzchak will bless him. But Rivkah hears all this and wants Yakov, her slightly younger son, to get the blessing, so she prepares some meat the way Yitzchak likes it, and gives it to Yakov to take in, and dresses Yakov in Esav’s clothes. The Parsha details the duplicity of Yakov and Rivkah in fooling Yitzchak.
6th Aliya: Yitzchak blesses Yakov with spiritual and material gain, after which Esav returns to discover Yakov’s plot. He receives his own blessing for material gain, and is determined to kill Yakov. Rivkah, fearful for Yakov’s life, convinces Yitzchak to send Yakov to her brother Lavan in search of a shiduch – a wife. Yitzchak confirms on Yakov the future of the Jewish nation before his departure to Lavan.
7th Aliya: Yakov departs for Padan Aram, and Esav marries the daughter of Yishmael. (his 1/2 1st cousin)
Tags: Alef, aliya, chaya, distinctive word, family blessing, father isaac, jacob and esau, land of canaan, muel, parsha, parshah, quot quot, rsquo, second word, sidra, simchat torah, toldot, Torah Reading, weekly torah portion, yakov
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