Parshat Toldos 5783: Yaakov and Eisev: Two Nations From the Same Womb

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua Toldos is being sponsored by Ben and Gina Fishman and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated in thanks to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for the birth of our grandsons Ben-Tzion Yedidya and Chaim. To the Fishman family, 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 a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

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Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Toldos 5783: Yaakov and Eisev: Two Nations From the Same Womb

by Moshe Burt

This author begins the vort on our Parshat Toldos by citing, in part, from last year’s Succot Vort regarding a commentary about a future war of Gog and Magog which was cited from Sefer Shem Mishmuel (written by Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, the Rebbe of Sochaczev and translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski). Shem Mishmuel cited a Tehillim, “devoted to Moshiach and the activities of those who oppose him,” and writes (pages 448-451):

“Kings of the land stand up and nobles take counsel together against Hashem and His Moshiach.” (Tehillim 2:2 rendered to English in Sefer Shem Mishmuel)

….When Aaron died, these clouds departed and Klal Yisrael were exposed. (Shem Mishmuel citing Midrash Tanchuma, Chukas 18) They were immediately attacked by Arad, who unsurprisingly, say Chazal (Shem Mishmuel citing ibid, Rosh Hashana 3a), were Amalek. Once Aaron, their antithesis, had died, Amalek felt that the time was ripe to fight their old foe.

This vort will endeavor to trace the roots of Amalek’s aggression against Am Yisrael.

Torah relates:

“Yitzchak entreated Hashem opposite his wife, because she was barren. Hashem allowed Himself to be entreated by him, and his wife Rivka conceived. And the children crushed within her, and she said, ‘If so, why is it that I am?’ And she went to inquire of Hashem. And Hashem said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb; two regimes from your insides shall be separated; and one regime shall become strong from the other regime, and the elder shall serve the younger.'” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 25, posukim 21 – 23 as rendered to English in the Sapirstein Edition, The Torah With Rashi’s Commentary)

The Artscroll Stone Chumash provides commentary on posukim 22 and 23 (page 125):

On posuk 22: “The children agitated.” (or as The Sapirstein Edition, The Torah With Rashi’s Commentary renders: “The children crushed”) When Rivka passed the Torah academy of Shem and Eiver, Yaakov “ran” and struggled to come forth; and when she passed a temple of avodah zora worship, Eisev “ran” and struggled to come forth (Artscroll citing Midrash) Gur Aryeh explains that this embryonic Yaakov-Eisev struggle was not influenced by their personal Good and Evil Inclinations, for they are not present before birth. Rather, Yaakov and Eisev represented cosmic forces in Creation, forces that transcended the normal course of personality development, and that existed even before birth.

Continuing on posuk 22: “She went to inquire.” She went to the academy of Shem (Artscroll citing Rashi), a prophet, who could inquire of Hashem on her behalf. She kept her predicament from Yitzchak and Avraham for fear that they might deem her suffering to be a sign of sinfulness on her part. (Artscroll citing Gur Aryeh)

Hashem conveyed the significance of her frightening symptoms only to her and not to Yitzchak. Rivka felt that she did not have the right to do so [to tell Yitzchak], even years later when she conspired to win Yitzchak’s Brachot for Yaakov over Eisev, Chizkuni explains that this is why Yitzchak could not imagine Eisev to be a sinner.

On posuk 23: “Hashem said to her.” Through Shem, Hashem conveyed to her that the unborn infants represented two nations with conflicting ideologies — Israel and Edom — and that their struggle in the womb symbolized the future rivalries between them which would end with the younger prevailing over the older (Artscroll citing R’ Hoffman). Thus the turmoil within her was due to the irreconcilable conflict between the two nations that was already taking shape. (Artscroll citing Mizrachi)

In previous years, we’ve discussed insights as to how the atmosphere of wickedness surrounding Rivka’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, who learned and was nurtured with the attributes of his Mother, would receive the Brachot that Am Yisrael would descend from him and that the nations would serve his descendants.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, in “Unlocking the Torah Text” Sefer Breish’t on Parshat Chayei Sarah opines that:

Rivka emerges as the more perceptive parent. She alone sees their two children, Yaakov and Esav, for who they really are, and she alone acts with strength to perpetuate Avraham’s legacy through Yaakov. (Rav Goldin citing Sefer Breish’t , Perek 27, posukim 1-46)

It would seem, as well, that the frightening symptoms of Rivka’s pregnancy, the beginnings of this ” irreconcilable conflict between the two nations” provided Rivka with added insight and perception as she endeavors to see that Yaakov receives the Brachot which Yitzchak had intended for Eiserv.

Returning to the Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary on posuk 23 (page 125):

The Sages teach that the two of them will never be mighty simultaneously; when one falls, the other will rise (Artscroll citing Megillah 6a).

The Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary on posuk 23 now provides its conclusion which we see plays out in our very times and which we all should contemplate (ibid):

History has demonstrated this prophecy [from Shem to Rivka] in practice. Two regimes, one espousing morality and justice and the other standing for license [presumably to this author meaning licentious: unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral] and barbarity, cannot long exist. They must always be in conflict until one comes to dominate the other, whether through victory on the battlefield or in the contest for men’s minds.

May we, the B’nei 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, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebui homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his second year at home in Eretz Yisrael and embarking on a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of eight years ago. 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 prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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 Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Chodesh Tov and Good Shabbos!
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.