(Genesis-25:19-28:9)

(Haftara Malachi 1:1-2:7)

  1. [25:23] “Two nations are in your womb…the greater will serve the younger.” Rivkah was told by God in a prophetic revelation that Ya’akov would be the greater of the brothers.  Then she manipulated events so that Ya’akov got the greater blessing. Does this show a lack of faith in God’s prophecy? Shouldn’t she have been passive and just let God’s prophecy come true?
  1. [25:28] “And Yitzchak loved Esav, because there was food in his mouth…” How can it be that Yitzchak favoured Esav for such a materialistic reason. Our tradition tells us that Yitzchak was a person of noble character.  How can we understand this pasuk in a way that is more sympathetic to Yitzchak?
  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. Our tradition does not discourage wealth, but does tell us that wealth can be a hindrance to spiritual development (Pirkay Avot 2:7: “…the more property, the more worries…”). Why doesn’t our tradition discourage wealth and make spiritual development easier?
  1. [26:27] “Why have you come to me?” asked Yitzchak. “You hate me.” This is a direct and confrontational statement. It is not typical of Middle-Eastern politeness. What was it in Yitzchak’s past that would have made him act and speak in such a challenging way?
  1. [Haftara: Malachi 1:1] “The burden of the word of God…” God is accusing the Jewish people of not being really devoted to the service of God. They serve God in a “lukewarm, mediocre” way. Is it easier to become a real servant of God from a place of mediocre service, or from a place of no service at all?

Commentary

We must always start from the beginning, from the first thoughts of childhood. Clarify them and refine them, and with purity and strength, bring out the goodness and the light that is in them. We shouldn’t belittle simple thoughts. They help to light up our way more than all the thoughts that we imagine to be elevated and sophisticated.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

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

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer