This week, our Parshat HaShevua Toldos is being sponsored by Daniel and Amy Michaels of Ramat Beit Shemesh in memory
of Daniel’s Mother, Ora bat Avraham Naftali. To Mishpochat Michaels, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a
Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring (or as the case may be, co-sponsoring) a Parshat HaShevua.
Please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
There are multiple lessons and discussions to come out of our Parshat Toldos: the Eisev paradigm of Kibud Av V’Eim (honoring one’s parents), how the childhood nurturing of Rivka Imeinu, in an atmosphere of wickedness, positioned and enabled her to rise above her surroundings and to act l’Shem Shemayim to do chessed to Eliezer. We also learn how the atmosphere of wickedness surrounding Rifka’s upbringing later served her well — that she knew how and when to be kind, and when cunning was called for, thus insuring that the righteous child — Yaakov would receive the Brachot that Am Yisrael would descend from him and that the nations would serve his descendents. We follow the contrast in personality between Yaakov and Eisev, and learn of Avraham Aveinu’s death and of Eisev’s selling of his Birthright for some lentil soup. Our parsha tells of Eisev’s deception of Yitzchak through the “tithing of salt and straw” and the seeming deception through which Yaakov received the Brachot and more.
But here, we will talk about Yitzchak Aveinu’s bracha to Eisev and what it means when/if the Jews stray from Torah and Hashem’s Ways. Our Parsha, as rendered in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 27, posukim 28-29, tells of Yitchak’s Bracha to Yaakov:
“…May Hashem give you of the dew of the heavens and of the fatness of the earth, and abundant grain and wine. People will serve you, and regimes will prostrate themselves to you…, and your mother’s sons will prostrate themselves to you; cursed be they who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”
When Eisev appeared, after Yaakov received the Bracha intended for him, Yitzchak answered, as rendered Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Sefer Breish’t, Perek 27, posukim 37 and 39 – 40:
“Behold, a lord I have made him over you, and all his kin I have given him as servants; with grain and wine have I supported…. So Yitzchak, his father answered, and said to him, ‘Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be your dwelling and of the dew of the heavens from above.
By your sword shall you live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you shall cast off his yoke from upon your neck.'”
Rashi notes on Sefer Breish’t, Perek 27, posuk 40 (The Sapirstein edition: The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary)
“…Yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved…” An expression of pain…. as if to say, “When Israel will transgress the laws of the Torah, and you will have a claim to be aggrieved over the blessings that [Yaakov] took, ‘You may remove his yoke…'”
Rabbi Mordechai Katz writes beautifully in his Sefer L’mod U’lamed on our Parsha, page 39:
Yitzchak granted Yaakov the blessing that all nations would come to serve the people who would emerge from his descendents. However, Yitzchak indicated that this blessing would come true only if the B’nei Yisrael adhered to the Torah of Hashem. Once the Jews abandoned the ways of the Torah their enemies would gain superiority over them.
History has borne out this prediction. While the Jews acted properly, they enjoyed the presence of His Beit Hamikdosh. However, when the refused to heed His warnings to repent, they suffered the loss of the Holy Temple and were reduced to living under gentile oppression in exile. Later, Jews tried to assimilate and become like the citizens of foreign countries such as Greece, Rome, Russia, Germany. What they forgot was that the gentiles, the sons of Eisev, have always been their enemies. As a result, all attempts by Jews to assimilate have been met by oppression, pogroms, and wars. It was only when the Jews remembered that they are Jews and tried to comply with the laws of the Torah, that they emerged supreme, self-confident and happy.
This lesson has been hammered home again and yet again throughout our history — they were “good Russians”, “good Germans” who abandoned Torah ways to assimilate into the society of their current residence, and we bear the historical results, culminating with the Sho’a. And now, “Good Americans?”
One cannot help but ponder how easily many American Jews, who have forsaken their Jewish “bread-and-butter issues” for knee-jerk, reflexual votes setting up a common man as a president/deity based on falicious characterization of skin color, can now be deceived over and over as conditions worsen in the US — as this president/”deity” holds the country hostage, via government shut-down, threats of debt default, to implementation of his “pet” multi-trillion dollar program. American Jews continue to exhibit a “herd of sheep” (being led to slaughter) mentality by voting one certain way all the time — knee jerk — in national elections, or local elections, afflicted by a blindness which obscures facts, past track-records and and subversive affiliations and mentors, ie. Bill Ayers, his wife and others who planted bombs in American government buildings.
And so while we vote for mis-perceived “golden boys”, retrospectively at our own peril, one who is thoughtful and with a Jewish heart might even come to ask, what about those FEMA “Internment camps” brought into existence in recent years, ostensibly for “suspected terrorists” or even pro-longed detention for American citizens suspected of future crimes?? For a full, uncut movie about FEMA camps, click here.
Doesn’t it seem as if we keep failing because we can’t or don’t rise above our natures, the atmosphere of our upbringings and our societal norms, or perceive Hashem’s tests?
In today’s Israel, perhaps this means that those who love and cleave to our Divine legacy of Eretz Yisrael and who love their fellow Jews as brothers ought to think and act outside-the-box and employ their wits and their backgrounds, L’Shem Shemayim, morally and ethically to best those who would do evil to them.
Unfortunately, the solution to the problem, how most of us are blinded to contemporary evils, has yet to found. A solid L’Shem Shemayim methodology for besting, neutralizing and discrediting, at their own game, either an evil Israeli governance, or individuals who cloak themselves in perceived, projected righteousness and legitimacy, has yet to be struck upon. There seems to be noone so imbued with Divine wisdom as Yitzchak Avinu, Rivka Emeinu and Yaakov Avinu were. Hopefully, the time for such answers will come speedily. May our actions regarding our fellow Jews merit acquiring such Divine wisdom as necessary to humble the evil-doers.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Good Shabbos! Chodesh Tov!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.