Updated: Nov 21, 2020
The Weekly D'rash and the Scriptures that we will be reading this Shabbat for Toldot from Rabbi Howard Silverman:
TORAH ~ Genesis 25:19-28:9
HAFTARAH ~ Malachi 1:1-2:7 BRIT CHADASHA ~ Romans 9:1-16
The name of this Torah portion is 'Toldot', which is most often translated as 'generations'. The passage begins with these words: "Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac" (Gen 25:19). It sounds like a genealogy, but as we continue reading we know that this begins the story of Jacob and Esau who are the sons of Isaac. Like other passages in Genesis, a famous family story is told in the context of a genealogy. We will see the same thing at Gen 37:1–2, in which the story of Joseph begins with the words: "these are the records of the generations of Jacob". In our portion for this week which focuses on the sibling rivalry of Jacob and Esau, there are two important things to remember. First, the literary context is the genealogy of Isaac. This means that we must always keep in mind that the story is about the promises that God had made to Abraham being passed down to the child of promise Isaac, and to the chosen son Jacob. It is the story of the election of Israel. The story is telling us that Jacob is the chosen son, and that God is providentially at work to bring it to pass. The second thing to remember is that the story is not only about the two individual sons and their personal relationship but about two nations. It is a prophetic story about the destiny of Israel—the destiny of the Jewish people. There is a built-in ambiguity regarding the innocence and guilt of Jacob in the story. Is Jacob a scheming liar or is he an obedient son who desires the blessing of God? Is it both? It can be hard to tell depending on how you read the text. When you look at the history of the Jewish people, there is plenty of ambiguity when we think about the covenant relationship with God. On one hand, Israel transgressed by rejecting Yeshua. But on the other hand, it turned out to be quite providential in the Good News going to the nations. The Jewish people have undergone enormous difficulties over the last 2000 years. But on the other hand, God has sustained us as a people against all odds. When you apply this to the community of Messiah followers over the last 2000 years, we see tremendous disobedience, but at the same time we see tremendous testimonies of faithfulness. We see the unconditional love of God in sustaining His witness in this world. While we see ambiguity in the 'elect', there is no ambiguity in the position of God. In the life of Jacob, in the history of Israel, and throughout the history of the universal congregation of Messiah followers, God remains faithful to His word, His promise, and His covenant! Regardless of the actions of people, God providentially brings His will to pass. In the days in which we are living, it is hard to make right choices all the time. Remember that God is at work and that nothing will thwart His plan! Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Howard TORAH READING: GENESIS 25:19 – 28:9 25:19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 Isaac prayed to the L-rd on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the L-rd answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the L-rd. 23 The L-rd said to her, "Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger." 24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright." 32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?" 33 And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. 26:1 Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 The L-rd appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 "Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. 4 "I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws." 6 So Isaac lived in Gerar. 7 When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," for he was afraid to say, "my wife," thinking, "the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful." 8 It came about, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out through a window, and saw, and behold, Isaac was caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 Then Abimelech called Isaac and said, "Behold, certainly she is your wife! How then did you say, 'She is my sister '?" And Isaac said to him, "Because I said, 'I might die on account of her.'" 10 Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us." 11 So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, "He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death." 12 Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the L-rd blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth. 16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us." 17 And Isaac departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there. 18 Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac, saying, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, "At last the L-rd has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land." 23 Then he went up from there to Beersheba. 24 The L-rd appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the G-d of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham." 25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the L-rd, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac's servants dug a well. 26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army. 27 Isaac said to them, "Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?" 28 They said, "We see plainly that the L-rd has been with you; so we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the L-rd.'" 30 Then he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they arose early and exchanged oaths; then Isaac sent them away and they departed from him in peace. 32 Now it came about on the same day, that Isaac's servants came in and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, "We have found water." 33 So he called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day. 34 When Esau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; 35 and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah. 27:1 Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, "My son." And he said to him, "Here I am." 2 Isaac said, "Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death. 3 "Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; 4 and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die." 5 Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, 7 'Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the L-rd before my death.' 8 "Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. 9 "Go now to the flock and bring me two choice young goats from there, that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father, such as he loves. 10 "Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death." 11 Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. 12 "Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing." 13 But his mother said to him, "Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me." 14 So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob. 18 Then he came to his father and said, "My father." And he said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?" 19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me." 20 Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?" And he said, "Because the L-rd your G-d caused it to happen to me." 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not." 22 So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23 He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. 24 And he said, "Are you really my son Esau?" And he said, "I am." 25 So he said, "Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son's game, that I may bless you." And he brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, "Please come close and kiss me, my son." 27 So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the L-rd has blessed; 28 Now may G-d give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; 29 May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you." 30 Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 Then he also made savory food, and brought it to his father; and he said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that you may bless me." 32 Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau." 33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed." 34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" 35 And he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing." 36 Then he said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" 37 But Isaac replied to Esau, "Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?" 38 Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father." So Esau lifted his voice and wept. 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40 "By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." 41 So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 42 Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, "Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. 43 "Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! 44 "Stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury subsides, 45 until your brother's anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?" 46 Rebekah said to Isaac, "I am tired of living because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?" 28:1 So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2 "Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3 "May G-d Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 "May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which G-d gave to Abraham." 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau. 6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan," 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; 9 and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth. HAFTARAH READING: MALACHI 1:1-2:7 1:1 The oracle of the word of the L-RD to Israel through Malachi. 2 "I have loved you," says the L-RD. But you say, "How have You loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the L-RD. "Yet I have loved Jacob; 3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness." 4 Though Edom says, "We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins"; thus says the L-RD of hosts, "They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the L-RD is indignant forever." 5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, "The L-RD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!" 6 "'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?' says the L-RD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, 'How have we despised Your name?' 7 "You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, 'How have we defiled You?' In that you say, 'The table of the L-RD is to be despised.' 8 "But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the L-RD of hosts. 9 "But now will you not entreat G-d's favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?" says the L-RD of hosts. 10 "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the L-RD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from you. 11 "For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says the L-RD of hosts. 12 "But you are profaning it, in that you say, 'The table of the L-rd is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.' 13 "You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it," says the L-RD of hosts, "and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?" says the L-RD. 14 "But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the L-rd, for I am a great King," says the L-RD of hosts, "and My name is feared among the nations." 2:1 "And now this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 "If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name," says the L-RD of hosts, "then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 "Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it. 4 "Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi," says the L-RD of hosts. 5 "My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. 6 "True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. 7 "For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the L-RD of hosts. B’RIT CHADASHAH READING: ROMANS 9:1-16 9:1 I am telling the truth in Messiah, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Messiah according to the flesh, who is over all, G-d blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of G-d has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of G-d, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise: "AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON." 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that G-d's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." 13 Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED." 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with G-d, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on G-d who has mercy.