(Genesis-25:19-28:9)

(Haftara Malachi 1:1-2:7)

  1. [25:19] “These are the generations…” The pasuk says that “these are the descendants of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham”. If we already know that Yitzchak is Avraham’s son, why does the pasuk continue and say that  “Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak”?  This statement seems totally unnecessary.
  1. [26:9] “…because I said, ‘Maybe I might die because of her'”. When Avimelech asked Yitzchak why Yitzchak had lied and said that Rivkah was his sister, Yitzchak answered, “Maybe I might die because of her”. When Avraham was in the same situation, he answered, “…because I thought, there is no fear of God in this place” [20:11]. Are the two answers really the same? Which is the better answer?
  1. [26:14] “He had flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and many servants…” Both Yitzchak and Avraham became very wealthy after a while. Does that fact affect the story, or would the stories of our forefathers have been the same if they had been poor?
  1. [27:19] “…I am Esav, your first-born.” Our tradition tells us that the main quality of God is Truth. Ya’akov lied to his father, Yitzchak. If a desperate gangster asks you where a friend of yours can be found, should you tell him the truth? When is a person permitted to not tell the truth?
  1. [Haftara: Malachi 1:1] “The burden of the word of God through Malachi.”

Prophecy from God is at times called “the burden of the word of God”.  Yet many people trained for years to become prophets.  If prophecy could be such a burden, why were so many people attracted to it, and training so intensely to be prophets?

Commentary

[26:14]  “All the wells that the servants of his father had dug in the days of Avraham, the Philistines had stopped them and filled them with earth.”

Any service of God has to have inner sincerity, and if it doesn’t have sincerity, then it is not real service. The Philistines wanted to do the same service as Avraham, but since they did it in imitation and without genuineness, this is called “stopping up the wells”. Yitzchak wanted to dig his own wells, but at the same time he wanted to honour his father’s service. Afterwards, however, he did dig his own wells, and each Jew who wants to serve God has to do it in his own manner with sincerity, and in that way he can get close to his Creator.

–R. Simcha Binem of Pszyscha, 1765-1827, Poland.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And  to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer